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Atlantic City man's vision to feed homeless sparks community support

  • Good Citizens
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It all started with a Facebook post

“I want to do a cookout for the homeless” Tajh Shelton wrote. “If you want to help, just let me know.” 

The status garnered the attention of more than 300 Atlantic City residents.

But more importantly, it moved many into action. 

Shelton, an Atlantic City native, created a Facebook group to organize the outpour of support.

“Is there anything else we need? Is there enough of everything?” one city native posted in the Making the Homeless Feel at Home group. 

“If you still need a DJ, I’m available” wrote Christopher “DJ High Keyy” Burnett.

That wasn’t all. 

The offers were almost endless: food, clothing, hygiene products and more.

Shelton, with the support of his girlfriend, Dejah Curtis, worked diligently behind the scenes. 

“Just got approval from the city for the BBQ, LETS GOOOO.” Shelton wrote. 

It was the last step in preparation to bring his vision to life.

“Just thinking should I rent some tables and chairs ???" Erica Marshall wrote on the Facebook page. "And is anybody bringing serving utensils and table clothes.”

“I just want everything to be smooth,” she added under her post. 

On the day of the event, there didn’t appear to be any hiccups.

Around 12, Brown's Park started to fill with volunteers and their contributions. 

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“This event is to bring awareness to Atlantic City locals and serve as a reminder that the city’s homeless population 

shouldn’t only be looked after on holidays,” Shelton said. 

“Everyone has a story and the homeless are more knowledgeable than we credit them," he added. "They are humans, not things.” 

Jose M., 78, was one of those who benefitted from the community event. 

“I came to Atlantic City seven years ago and I never found my footing,” he said. 

“I was not expecting this," Jose said of the event. "It’s always great getting a hot meal with some good music playing.”

There were dozens of homeless and less fortunate who came out to enjoy the festivities. 

Volunteers served gracious portions of food to those in need. Others engaged in conversation with the often neglected population. It was a heartwarming sight to see.

Shelton intends to host these events bi-monthly and is willing to do it more with proper funding and continued community support. 

To stay up to date on future events, Shelton encourages the public to follow and/or join the public Facebook 

group, Making the Homeless Feel At Home. 

Shelton made sure to acknowledge those who helped: “A special thank you to Hope Nicole Austin, Mr. (Ernest) Coursey and our, Mayor Marty Small Sr.”


Sunday, May 19, 2024
STEWARTVILLE
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