Tuck's R.U.S.H. charity turns five

Justin and Lauran Tuck remember wanting to do something to help educate children but having "no clue" how much went into operating a charity group.

They know now.

On Tuesday, the Tucks launched the fifth year of their R.U.S.H. for Literacy charity initiative, which provides students with books and teaches them the importance of reading and writing, at the Scholastic headquarters in SoHo. Tuck's charity has raised over $1.5 million and provided almost 150,000 books to help almost 8,000 kids.

"I still remember the first day we introduced this to the kids and it seems like they are getting more excited about it every day," Tuck said at an event where he spoke to middle school students. "Our first kids are in high school now and they are coming back and telling us some of the situations they are facing in high school that they already kind of have a grasp on how to handle it because of some of the things that we talked about, whether it be through our books or times I went to schools and talked to them individually."

The Tucks spoke to kids on Tuesday and provided goodie bags with shirts and books. R.U.S.H. for Literacy helps five New York City Title I schools, one New Jersey Title I school and Central Middle School in Coosa County, Ala. -- Tuck's hometown.

Fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth graders receive four new books to read each year and are invited to submit essays. This year’s essay focuses on bullying and overcoming adversity. The winners get to attend a Giants home game.

"When we first started this, we had no clue, we just knew that we wanted to do something to give back," Tuck said. "And now we have a system that we feel as though (it) is in place and is working and is doing a great job as far as making sure we are taking advantage of all monetary donations, tak(ing) advantage of all donated time.

"And it is in a great place where we don't feel like as though anything is going to waste. All of this effort is going to benefit the kids in the best possible position that we can."