ATLANTIC CITY — Geraldine Hayer drove around the city Saturday afternoon, delivering hot meals to the New York Avenue Apartments and the Atlantic City Townehouse.

“I thought about what if I was in that situation? What if I was homeless?” said the member of the Delta Sigma Theta Atlantic City Alumnae Chapter. “I wanted to do something, and this was my little part to help.”

Hayer, of Pleasantville, was one of more than 120 volunteers who took part in Princess Inc.’s second annual “Thanksgiving to Go” on Saturday. Headquartered at Stockton University’s Atlantic City campus, volunteers packed and delivered turkey dinners, complete with gravy, stuffing and pumpkin pie, to the homeless and underserved in the resort and neighboring Pleasantville.

Princess Inc. partnered with the university for the event with a goal of feeding 600 people, double last year’s amount, but ended up packaging and delivering 900 meals.

Friends Indra Owens and Automne Bennett, the founders of Princess Inc., which fosters mentoring, education, empowerment and community service for girls ages 13 to 19 in the city, hosted last year’s event out of Owens’ Arkansas Avenue home.

“It’s important because a lot of the kids don’t understand community service,” Owens said, adding that with the added support, the meals were packaged much faster than last year. “It’s the difference between showing them and getting them actively involved.”

The warm, comforting smell of a hot turkey dinner wafted through the hallways of the university’s Residential Complex. An assembly line took up the entire length of one of the common rooms, where Lyntaga Smith, 39, of Atlantic City, filled containers with stuffing.

“We’re giving it back to the community, to people who may not have a Thanksgiving dinner,” she said. “I love that we’re helping to give back.”

Michelle McDonald, chief officer for academic programming at Stockton’s Atlantic City campus, said students, faculty and staff all joined together with Princess Inc. and called it a successful collaboration between volunteers and all the local businesses that donated food, including Caesars Entertainment, B&B Soul Seafood, Steve & Cookie’s By the Bay, Tomatoe’s and the Historic Smithville Inn.

“It’s an opportunity for us to show our students that a Stockton education doesn’t just occur in the classroom,” McDonald said.

Contact: 609-272-7241 Mbilinski@pressofac.com Twitter @ACPressMollyB

My beat is public safety, following police and crime. I started in January 2018 here at the Press covering Egg Harbor and Galloway townships. Before that, I worked at the Reading Eagle in Reading, Pa., covering crime and writing obituaries.

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