NJ State Police make Thanksgiving baskets for families in need

ATLANTIC CITY (WPVI) -- For the 11th year in a row, families from an Atlantic City school are the beneficiaries of some corporate generosity and the good will of the New Jersey State Police.

Instead of investigating card counters or a theft at one of Atlantic City's casinos, a number of New Jersey State Police detectives from the Casino Gaming Bureau spent Monday morning loading up Thanksgiving baskets at the Pennsylvania Avenue School.

With donations from ShopRite, TD Bank and other businesses, the goal is to put a full turkey dinner on the table for at least 125 families at the school.

"The troopers, the cops who are working the towns are always concerned about the citizens. and this is a good way for us to get out and say 'hey, we're here, we're here for more than just police-work and we care about what's going on,'" Sgt. Richard Wheeler said.

"Coming from the Dominican Republic, I know what it is like to go through the holidays without a plate of food. So this is something I enjoy very much," TD Bank volunteer Yarisa Walsh said.

At a time when many families in this area have faced layoffs and tough financial times receiving a gift basket makes a huge difference.

"I'm not working so it's something that helps me give them something for this year so it's really a blessing," parent Chenoune Comprendre said.

"I could save that money for Christmas. I could buy something for my kids, I have three daughters, so I'm thankful," parent Pascale Cenat said.

"Some people just don't have it, don't have the money to have a good Thanksgiving," Lt. Ed Fallon said.

Parents came in throughout the day to pick up the baskets, boxes packed with a turkey and all the fixin's to make a meal the school's principal says some families could not afford.

"A turkey costs about $25 in addition to all of the side items, so the parents are very appreciative," school principal Dr. Laquetta Small said.

For the New Jersey State Police detectives the only crime here may be that so many families need help putting food on the table and they are doing their small part to solve that.
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