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Fundraiser For Waterbury Family Displaced By Fire Set For June 2

The Ward Family: Left rear, Tanaysha, Nutmeg's Ryan Matthews; Teisha, Teanna and Stavonne. In front are Edward, Allen and Alanteia. Missing from photo is daughter Stajonna.F
The Ward Family: Left rear, Tanaysha, Nutmeg's Ryan Matthews; Teisha, Teanna and Stavonne. In front are Edward, Allen and Alanteia. Missing from photo is daughter Stajonna.F
Life was challenging, but workable, for Teisha Ward, a nursing assistant and single mother, who lived at the corner of Lakewood Avenue, North Main Street and Chase Avenue in Waterbury until a late April fire ravaged the apartment that was home to her and her eight children. "The good news is that nobody was hurt," said Ward. "We were all very scared, though, and a lot was destroyed. I'm talking about clothes, furniture, toys, food and other really important things." Two of Teisha Ward's children, 12-year-old Stavonne and 9-year-old Allen, are "Little Brothers" (children being mentored) in the Nutmeg Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring program. Stavonne's "Big Brother" (adult mentor) is Paul Martelli, a Waterbury native and general manager of Frankie's Family Restaurant, a legendary Waterbury eating spot that first opened its doors in 1933. "Teisha's an excellent mom," said Martelli. "She's worked hard and has done an amazing job with her family. The kids have strong core values and are moving forward in all the right directions. Last month's fire, though, has been very costly and disruptive for the Wards. Friends and local organizations have been extremely supportive. Even so, the family is in definite need of some immediate financial assistance so they can resume some semblance of normalcy." Martelli, 33, has been on the staff at Frankie's since he was a teenager. It apparently didn't take a lot of convincing to persuade management there to co-host a fundraiser to help Teisha Ward's family members get their lives back on track. "Everybody at Frankie's immediately got behind this," said Martelli. "We're a local business and we like nothing better than lending a hand, whenever we can, to local people who need an assist, and to worthwhile local causes. And there's absolutely no question that this is a worthwhile cause." The fundraiser for Waterbury's Ward family is being called "Cookout for a Cause". It will take place in the city's Bucks Hill Park on Montoe Road on Sunday, June 2 from 1:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. The cookout features hot dogs, hamburgers, French fries and a lot of the other delicious menu items Frankie's is famous for. The minimum donation is $10 - and for that very reasonable amount, you get all you can eat. "The Wards are terrific people who stumbled onto some bad luck," said Ryan Matthews, Enrollment Coordinator at Nutmeg Big Brothers Big Sisters, the other co-sponsor of "Cookout for a Cause". "Hopefully, the fundraiser we're hosting with Frankie's on June 2 will help to get the family up and running once again." For additional information on "Cookout for a Cause", contact Ryan Matthews. His phone number is: 1-800-237-5437, ext. 148. His e-mail address is: rmatthews@bbbsnutmeg.org. Nutmeg's website is: www.nutmegbigbrothersbigsisters.org.

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