A York County bar aims to serve the community more than just a cold beer.
“I don’t know…why do I do it? I love these kids…I love these kids,” said Annette Fullerton Thoman, who has owned the Tourist Inn in Hellam Township, York County, for 14 years.
And during each and every one of those years, she has hosted fundraisers for various organizations, but she has a soft spot for helping out sick kids.
“This is my girl Irelyn. Last year we raised enough money for her to get a service dog, a puppy. And it is now trained and ready to go to school with her. Love her,” said Annette.
Each Christmas, she and her employees choose one sick child in need, and turn the Tourist Inn into Pennsylvania’s own North Pole.
The team was almost finished collecting donations for this year’s event, when Hellam was hit hard in last months flooding.
“I could not believe how our basement was the next day when we came back. It was just mud and things everywhere. All the things we have collected for donations and our benefits and everything, they were just gone,” said Knox Jesmer, a bartender at the Tourist Inn.
From tables and chairs, to donations and decorations, everything was destroyed.
And while the damage to the business is leaving Annette with quite a financial burden, she’s not concerned about that.
Her biggest concern is replacing the items for the kids.
“We’re so fortunate that we can go through every day and have everything we need. We have everything we need. We don’t need much. These kids just live a totally different life and they’re so happy and so loving, and they just take your heart when you meet them," said Annette.
Anyone who has any items they can donate, whether it’s a monetary donation, an item to auction off, a gift card, or even just bins to for storage, is encouraged to stop by the Tourist Inn.