Wintertime is just about upon us, and soon we'll see the temperatures in our area begin to drop. For those who are homeless, it's a brutal existence.

The officers of the Atlantic City Police Department know all too well the challenges these people face. They meet these people on the streets every day, and see firsthand, the sad reality of homelessness in our region.

Several years ago, Atlantic City Police Sergeant BJ Dessicino was determined to make a difference. He believed that if he could get homeless people basic essentials, he could make a difference.

With the help of his department, Sgt. Dessicino started a program called Blessing Bags. These bags contain items that are donated by the community. Basic items like toiletries, and various items of clothing to help keep warm.

Each year, Atlantic City Police officers gather and form an assembly line to fill bags with goods.  It's a labor of love for the good of the community. Atlantic City Police Public Information officer, Paul Aristizabal tells us the Atlantic City Police Neighborhood Outreach comes together, along with area organizations like Jewish Family Services and others to put these bags together and distribute them to those in need.

This program has grown through the years to include the distribution of other items such as turkeys for Thanksgiving.  Officer Aristizable says, "each year, we give away hundreds of turkeys to those in need.  This isn't a one-shot deal.  Our officers give of themselves throughout the year.  This is true community policing."

If you or someone you know is homeless and needs help, call the NJ Homeless Hotline at 2-1-1 for free, confidential information and help.

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