PROWN: LET’S GIVE ST. ANTHONY’S A HAND

david-prown-091410David Prown at St. Anthony of Padua’s gym earlier this week. (Click to enlarge)

David Prown doesn’t want this article to be about him, and anyone who knows the Red Bank kids’ activist would not be surprised in the least to know that.

No, Prown, who’s widely regarded as a kind of rolling charity/sports impressario in his omnipresent maroon minivan, is only taking the spotlight here because he thinks it will help put a spotlight elsewhere.

That elsewhere is St. Anthony of Padua on Bridge Avenue.  And the reason he wants redbankgreen readers to notice, he says, is that the church makes possible what he does for children, many of them from struggling families: indoor and outdoor sports, trips to cultural events and amusement parks and the like.

Every week, he’s marshaling 50 to 70 kid for things like plays or movies, fishing trips, the circus, not to mention a full slate of tennis, soccer and other sports.

Of the cultural events, he says, “I like to expose kids to things they’ve never experienced before. Even if we go for pizza after a play, I say, ‘no plain.’ They’re not allowed to have plain. I want them, if someone else is paying for it, to always try something new.”

He gets theaters and other venues to donate tickets. And St. Anthony’s, where his activism in kids’ sports was born seven years ago with the launch of an after-school open-gym, is his base of operations. The school even gave him a set of keys to come and go as he wishes.

“They just believe in the kids of Red Bank,” he says. “They don’t even ask if the kids go to this school. Whenever I bring up a project, they just support it.”

This Saturday, just up the street from the church, at the glittering Two River Theater, the Roman Catholic church and school will be the beneficiary of a fundraiser. And Prown wants anyone who thinks he’s doing something good with the kids to consider coming out and making a contribution.

“If you ever wanted to support Red Bank kids and the things that I do, this is an easy way to do it,” he says.

A former housewares-store owner turned window-and-door installer, Prown never solicits money for his kids’-oriented activities. “Whatever comes my way is good enough, and I make it work,” he says.

But an operation the size of church can’t get by on whatever comes its way. Hence the fundraiser, a casual-dress affair themed a “Sunset Gathering” from 4p to 7p.

For $30, attendees get “a fabulous night of music, drinks, light hors d’oeuvres, silent auction and more,” Prown says, with all proceeds going to St. Anthony’s Project Loaves and Fishes Social Concerns Committee, “which besides being my biggest supporter, runs a spectacular food pantry — the second largest in the county — housing assistance, medical care, education, financial aid and youth development,” he adds.

Tickets will be available at the door. For more info or to make a donation of cash or items for the silent auction, contact Tiffany Perez at 732-768-8829.

Prown will be there of course, working the bar, and helping prime the pump. He adds, though, “I would empty the garbage if they asked me to for all their fantastic support.”