Reverend Reginald and Mary Tucker

20150514_Rev. and Mary Tucker 01 low res
Mrs. Mary Tucker (l) and Rev. Reginald Tucker (r), founders of Orange Mound Outreach Ministries

Who we are …

Mrs Tucker: OK, my name is Mary Tucker. I work at Orange Mound Outreach Ministries. I am cofounder and director.

Rev. Tucker: My name is Reverend Reginald Tucker. I am the founder, CEO, just everything.

What OMOM is…

Mrs. Tucker: The kids come here after school. The first thing they do when they hit the building is homework and after that they will go to different small groups, arts and crafts, we have a game room, computer room, some of them praise dance. We have church on Wednesday nights for the kids and their families to come. We have Real Talk groups for young men and for young women. So, it’s a lot of different things. What we do is teach them everything they’re going to need to grow up and lead a positive life. That’s what we teach them.

What led us here…

Mrs. Tucker: This ministry started mainly because of things he had been through in his past and he didn’t want any other kids to lose that amount of time doing dumb things, so God told him, you know, to do the kids here in Orange Mound, prevent them from doing bad things in the street, and my past has been like the kids that are here, you know, poor. I know everything that they go through because I’ve been through it myself. So God pulled us together and we formed this ministry.

Rev. Tucker: I had a vision when God got my life together and got me on the right track. I just wanted to help the neighborhood because I grew up in the neighborhood and I’d seen how the neighborhood had changed with the drug activities, with the gang activities and different things. So what we did, we started at the corner of Park and Grand, every Friday afternoon, we would cook hamburgers, play games, have Bible studies, and different things right up there in the midst of the drug activities and the prostitution and all kind of stuff. And we just grew.

I grew up in this building. It was a family mortuary. It got down to the younger kids and they lost interest, and the building was abandoned for almost two years. Had a few owners’ names on it, and we went to them and they let us have the building for $1,300 dollars a year.

How faith plays a role in our work…

Rev.Tucker: This is a safe haven for kids. Orange Mound once had a lot of positive things, but so many negative elements came in and soon as you walk out the door, it’s right there at you and God put it on my heart to give, to form a safe haven for children, a place where there’s no gangs, drugs, alcohol, anything ungodly would go on in this building.

I often say it was a funeral home where death was processed, now it’s processing life. The building is full of energy I have a slogan that I often say, “Buckwild for Jesus.” So I want the kids to be high spirited, because if I try to dull ‘em, you know, make it a little boring, they’re going to go outside and think they’re having fun, so we have to be high spirited.

We define healthcare as…

Rev. Tucker: Well I think in this neighborhood everybody instantly gets afraid of money, the cost of healthcare. You will not go to the doctor simply because of the money factor.

One of Memphis’ greatest healthcare challenges is…

Rev. Tucker: One thing I know is people got to care for the normal people and we have a lot of normal people out here in this world that need healthcare, but don’t have any way of being taken care of.

But what Memphis healthcare is doing right is…

Rev. Tucker: I think Christ Community is affordable. You know, $25, depends on your income. You’re not afraid to go to the doctor and you can get the basic care.

The biggest challenge in our healthcare work is…

Rev. Tucker: Most of the people around here, they go to the Med right off. Soon as you get sick, they know to go to the Med, even for a nonemergency. Then get the treatment they need for their particular time, but then if they’ve got high pressure, diabetes, they don’t have any follow-up care to go along with it. We see that often in here with the parents.

Most of the kids, if they get any kind of state assistance, they gonna automatically get healthcare.

But the parents, they don’t have insurance.

The greatest reward in my healthcare work is…

Mrs. Tucker: We have had some to come here, started out, like, six years old, and now they’re in college. So the greatest reward is seeing our kids going out here and really living the dream, having the hope to live the dream. So that’s my greatest reward, just seeing them do good.

Rev. Tucker: And, and my greatest reward is when, me and Ms Tucker modeling what real family life look like and we done have a couple kids that have babies and watching them do what we do, you know just being there for the kids, caring, the compassion. That’s a great reward. Because that’s what we really do here. We’re just one great big family.

And when we do this stuff, it’s, it’s like, the kids really feel it and they really want it. And, and my biggest prayer’s that they treat their family, they treat their real family the way we treat them with the love and compassion and understanding.

Just to see the, the normal life being, you know, put into place.

On the matching outfits…

Rev. Tucker: We wanted to make sure people knew that we was together and it’s a form of unity for people to, to see us together.

Mrs. Tucker: With kids, they will come and check our socks, our shoes, and make sure that everything is the same color and everything, so it just something that happen and the kids expect it.

God put us together. God really put us together.

Learn more about Orange Mound Outreach Ministry.

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