Nearly 300 of Atlantic City’s needy will be warmer this winter thanks to two friends from Pleasantville.
Jason Smart-El and James Pressley hosted a hat, scarf and gloves giveaway at Atlantic City’s Turning Point Center on Saturday.
It was the second event the friends hosted in two months at the new center opened by the Rev. Collin Days.
“Feeding the homeless last month was really an eye-opening experience as it relates to the large population of people that are homeless and others that are struggling daily to make ends meet for their families,” Pressley said. “Entering the winter season, we wanted to be able to at least supply each person with a hat, gloves and scarf to ease the hardship as they battle the freezing cold as they are often stuck outdoors with no where to go.”
They also wanted to honor the memory of their good friend, Demond “Oskii” Cottman, who was killed the day after Thanksgiving last year outside the Hamilton Mall. Saturday was the one-year anniversary of his killing, which remains unsolved.
“I told his parents I will do whatever it takes to continue to shine a positive light on his name,” Smart-El said. “My goal is to do something for the community at least once a month.”
The best part of the day, he said, was having Cottman’s young widow, Takimah Toulson, and their son, now 18 months old, helping out.
Ayyub Cottman was not quite 7 months old when his father was killed.
DJ Young Hitta, of Absecon, also donated his skills to the event. He said he’s DJ’ed for four years for various organizations and those in need.
“I love to give back and donate my time whenever I can,” he said. “I love to help people.”
Donations were so generous that Pressley said they were able to give out jackets and clothing. They also had enough left over to bag up and give out to those in need on the streets.
“It was great (with an) awesome turn out,” DJ Young Hitta said. “The gentlemen who put it together did a great job. A lot of people came out and were able to go home with something to keep them warm.”
Pressley said they don’t do this for their own attention.
“We are just blessed that God has empowered us with the vision and means to carry out the mission,” he said. “Once again, this could not have been accomplished without the energies and help of our family and friends who overwhelmed us with the supplies we needed.”
Anyone who wants to help the pair’s efforts can reach out via email to Smart-El firstname.lastname@example.org or Pressley at email@example.com.