A big part of our Golden Anchor awards is giving back to our community-and that’s why every year we donate proceeds from the event to a local charity our readers voted for. This year, you picked Not my Child QAC-a local organization dedicated to fighting the local opiate addiction crisis and supporting families going through loss from the opiate crisis. I got the chance to talk to founder Anthony Reno to learn a little more about why all our readers love Not My Child QAC so much and what you can do to help end the opiate addiction crisis.
In 2017, tragedy struck the Reno family when Anthony’s son, Anthony Jr. passed away from an opiate overdose. In the aftermath of his son’s death, during the thralls of the opiate epidemic, he often saw other grieving parents at the local cemetery. He talked to the mother of another local who passed away from opiate addiction, but wasn’t able to afford a full proper memorial for her son. Anthony decided he would raise money for her, and for other local families, and thus, Not my Child QAC was born.
Anthony says a big part of him wanting to turn Not my Child into a full fledged charity was to help preserve Anthony Jr.’s legacy. “I didn’t want my son’s legacy to be a statistic,” he explained to me, “his name means much more than that.” Since their foundation, Not my Child has raised money for 10 headstones and 10 benches for families on the shore to memorialize their loved ones’ lives.
Anthony believes that his organization has received so much love from the community because all the money they raise goes straight back into fighting the opiate epidemic and helping families in crisis. Not my Child QAC has given to local organizations like Camp New Dawn, the QAC Drug Free Coalition and the United Methodist Church.
Of all the different projects Not my Child QAC has undertaken, Anthony is most proud of helping turn the life around of a local man struggling with addiction. The young man’s insurance wouldn’t cover rehabilitation treatment for his addiction, so Not My Child QAC paid all of his expenses. Now he is clean, and in his 2nd year apprenticeship as an electrician. “He has made it a long way.” Anthony told me. “And it means a lot to me that his family didn’t have to go through what I went through.”
Anthony has a message both for parents and for anyone who might be struggling with addiction. “My son was a great kid and an athlete,” Anthony explained to me. “I never thought it could happen to him, but it did. You have to have hard conversations with your kid, and you have to advocate for them.” His message to any locals who might be struggling from addiction? “There is hope. There are resources available throughout the county…you have to reach out for help, it’s not embarrassing.”
If you would like to learn more about Not My Child QAC you can go to their website here: https://notmychildqac2-0.com/. Anthony hopes you can make it out to Not My Child’s flagship event, Anthony’s Run, on April 24th in The Narrows.