PLEASANTVILLE — Victory AME Zion Church was broken into last week and about $15,000 worth of items was stolen, church members said.
Small kitchen appliances, tables, tools, production and sound equipment, masks, hand sanitizer, paper products and packaged food for the church’s community food pantry were discovered stolen April 17, said Mersadies Bonilla, an Atlantic City resident who assists the church’s pastor, Ethel Wade. Wade said a back window of the church was broken when the break-in was discovered.
Bonilla said a police report was filed. No charges have been filed, and the case remains under investigation, police Capt. Matt Hartman said.
The church’s community pantry distributes canned and prepared foods to about 90 families every third Friday. The last distribution had about 120 families, Wade said.
Local food pantries have seen an increase in the number of people they serve, some as much as 300%.
She said the church’s food pantry is in partnership with the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, which will continue to provide shipments of food for the pantry. The next food pantry day is noon May 15. Families in need will be able to collect food items in the front of the church.
All other stolen items will be replaced with insurance funds, Bonilla said.
“The biggest thing (Wade) needs is security cameras and to have the (broken) window replaced,” she said. “My main concern is the safety of the building.”
To maintain safety, community members are taking shifts checking on the church, making sure all doors are locked, every other day, Bonilla said.
The church has been holding the food pantry service for about 18 months, Wade said.
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“At first, of course, it was very upsetting,” she said of the break-in. “But I’m also realizing that we’re living in a time where people are desperate. People’s minds are mixed up, and sometimes they are desperate. Whoever was involved, we’re praying for them and hoping they get their minds right and hoping they don’t do it to someone else.”
She said the church will move on and continue to serve the community.
“That’s not going to stop us,” she said. “People are in need, and that’s what we’re there for.”
Those looking to make donations of lost items to the church can contact Wade or Sandra Newman at Victoryamezion@gmail.com or by calling 609-272-7697.
Prominent African Americans remembered in Atlantic City and Pleasantville
Clayton G. Graham Public Safety Building
Art Dorrington Ice Rink
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Horace J. Bryant Jr. Municipal Utilties Authority building
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In 1969, Gov. Richard Hughes made Bryant the state's first black cabinet member when he was appointed head of the Department of Banking and Insurance.
Bryant was elected as an Atlantic City commissioner in 1972 and won a second term in 1976.
He founded the Atlantic City Municipal Utilities Authority and served as president of the Northside Union League Federal Credit Union.
He died in 1983 at age 74.
Max Manning Sports Center
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Ralph Peterson Sr. Community Center
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And before all that, back in 1960 when he was a young police officer, he was the founder of "Pete's Boys," kind of a one-man Police Athletic League that got kids off the street and into sports.
Peterson died in June 2014 at the age of 81.
Jacobs Family Terrace Condominium
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Deputy Chief Pierre Hollingsworth Fire Station
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Harold R. Brown Memorial Park
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Chief John R. Jasper Jr. Memorial Fire Station
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Jasper, one of Atlantic City's first three black firefighters, was the resort's first African-American fire chief.
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Oscar E. McClinton Jr. Waterfront Park
Oscar E. McClinton Jr. Waterfront Park is located on New Hampshire Avenue in Atlantic City.
McClinton Jr. who was an Atlantic City resident, who devoted his time and talent to the community. He was appointed to the Atlantic City Housing Authority board of commissioners in 1974 and six years later was elected chairman. He was vice president and treasurer of Anchor Savings Bank before he died in 1982.
Pop Lloyd Stadium
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John Henry "Pop" Lloyd, the Baseball Hall of Fame shortstop, called Atlantic City home for much of his life.
He played baseball for more than 25 years, from the early 1900s-1930s, for several Negro League teams, including the Atlantic City-based Bacharach Giants. He was a slick-fielding shortstop and terrific hitter who owned a career batting average of .343, earning him induction into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, in 1977.
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Lloyd died March 19, 1964, at the age of 79.
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He was assigned to the Army's Criminal Investigation Division, or CID, in Italy and once went undercover to help arrest a soldier suspected of a triple murder.
In March 1953 Usry took a full-time job in Atlantic City as a high school teacher before later serving as principal of the Indiana Avenue School, and was director of elementary services and director of community services for the city's schools.
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Correction: An earlier version of this story said the church’s door was unlocked. The door was discovered unlocked after the break in.