I’ve been to food pantries. Sometimes the food is good and sometimes it’s not. The day that I went the food wasn’t that good. Some of the things were, but some of the things were outdated. I was kind of nervous going in at first, but I went in and went into smiling faces. They didn’t make me feel bad because I was there for food. It was an experience.
The original tent city was located right off of Highway 676. It was closed down and the residents there were placed in hotels. I refer to the people there as residents because they have their own little community. They even had a Mayor. And now we have another location where Tent City is and it’s right off of Admiral Wilson Blvd. On a good day you probably wouldn’t see it. On a bad day it’s very noticeable. The process to get low-income housing is hard. If it was easy I don’t think we’d have all of those people in Tent City.
Some areas of Camden are worse than others, but I can say they are all almost the same. That’s actually right outside my apartment. That was a garage. It was on fire, and instead of them boarding it up, they put the fire out and they left it like that. So people use it to just dump trash in there. You can kind of see the trash piled up in there.
All you can do is pray and try and keep them off these streets because out here there is just so much going on right now. Just like we had a shooting the other day and they locked the school down. There are guns and stuff everywhere but now I think it’s getting bad because there are more drugs going on around here now. My son, the nineteen year-old, has already been caught in like two shootouts.
Out here, there’s no boys and girls club. There’s nothing for the kids to do, nothing. There are no recreation centers for the boys to go to and stay off the streets. At least they could be able to go to a gym or something like that and play basketball, but there is nothing out here. I send my kids to football outside of the city because it gets them off the streets.
That’s my nephew. My sister, who has custody of him right now, is trying to get some kind of assistance for him. She’s trying to do something and nobody is trying to help her and I don’t think that’s right. So we need to try to get something. People on the welfare system, we need to be heard because I just think that’s not right.
Just because he is in Camden does not mean a child won’t come out being happy. Just because this is not the American dream or the American-looking family, that does not mean a child won’t come up all right. I want that image to change, because there’s some good stuff in Camden. It’s not all bad stuff. Kids do grow up happy in Camden. I did. I came out fine.