The Aegis
Harford County

Edgewood families gifted turkey dinners days before Thanksgiving

Several Edgewood families have something more to be thankful for this year after receiving Thanksgiving meals from a collection of local businesses that stepped up to help Tuesday.

Local attorney Adam Smallow, J. Properties LLC, Prince of Peace Catholic Church and Best Choice Driving School donated eight turkeys, care packages full of pantry items, pumpkin pies and mashed potatoes to the families to help them out during COVID-19. The organizations reached out to County Councilman Andre Johnson who gave them names of families that could use a Thanksgiving meal.


An additional two turkey meals were donated to families who did not have the time to cook, Smallow said. And, to avoid disagreements over what side dishes to bring to the table, the families also received gift cards so they could make their own choices.

The donation gives Amber and Jerome Pleasant one fewer thing to think about in a fraught year. The couple has five children, two with Li-Fraumeni Syndrome — a rare mutation in a gene that normally suppresses tumors, instead causing them. Jerome himself has the same condition and has had cancer four times, including his most recent bout in July, which spread to his eye and face, necessitating two surgeries, a bout of chemotherapy and six weeks of proton therapy. Amber, too, is a breast cancer survivor.


Between the MRIs for their children, the medical expenses and the coronavirus pandemic that forces them to stay sequestered indoors, the holiday spread that Johnson passed to Amber Pleasant was more than just a gift.

“It feels like we live in a washing machine and the spin cycle never ends,” she said. “We will always be in some sort of crisis, we will always need help, we will always rely on others.”

But the family has plenty to be thankful for this year: the children’s cancer screenings were clear; Jerome’s prognosis is good; and the Edgewood community is standing by and ready to help. The community has helped the family at its toughest points, even through COVID, leaving supplies on their doorstep and showing a preternatural sense for what the family needs, sending help through an Amazon list.

“Two days ago I ran out of diapers and wipes and I was getting ready to leave to go to the grocery store, and I opened the door and there were two packages from Amazon — opened up, it was diapers and wipes,” Amber said. “Did not tell anybody I needed anything but it was there.”

Both Jerome and Amber are from Edgewood originally, and without the support of neighbors, friends and even strangers who support them, Amber “would not know where we would be.”

“I was kind of blown away, but at the same time I know ... our community always finds a way to support and help our family,” she said. “When we got the phone call from Councilman Johnson, I knew that everything was going to be OK this holiday season.”

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Smallow said he wanted to help the community that has been supportive of his law firm and reached out to Johnson, who recommended 10 families that could use the Thanksgiving meals. Though Johnson reached out to the families in September and October, he said some were surprised that he followed through with the deliveries.

Going into the holiday season, Edgewood resident Valencia Curtis did not think she had much to be thankful for, but she smiled behind her mask as Johnson and Smallow handed over the food on the chilly Tuesday morning. Her daughter, 29, died of an overdose in an Aberdeen motel in August.


Through that pain, Curtis said, she decided to celebrate the holiday for the rest of her family. It was also comforting to know that someone cared about her and put her name forward for the meal.

“We really did not want to do anything for Thanksgiving because I felt like what is there to celebrate,” she said. “Just knowing someone offered my name, it makes you feel kind of loved and wanted.”

“I would rather stay in the bed and cry, but this is making me push forward,” she continued.

As Smallow was picking up the turkeys from Richardson Farms, he recalled, he told them he will need more next year. This is not the last time welcome poultry shows up in Edgewood.

“We are going to grow this thing,” he said.