Sister Jean Webster

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Marker is located on northeast corner of Pennsylvania and Pacific Avenues

Marker text:

Over 25 years ago, casino chef Jean Webster saw a man searching for food in a garbage can on an Atlantic City street. With $5 in her pocket she bought him a meal at a fast food place and invited him to eat at her home the next day. Soon, others followed him back to her house, and she fed all of them. Jean's kitchen grew and moved to the First Presbyterian Church at Pacific and Pennsylvania Avenues were it went on to serve as many as 500 meals to the needy each day. She was often referred to by others as the "Mother Theresa of Atlantic City." Sister Jean was the recipient of the Russ Berrie Award that recognizes people who make a difference by helping others. In 1998 she was inducted into the Atlantic County Women's Hall of Fame, was Stockton College Referee of the Humanitarian Award and was a winner of the American Institute of Public Services Jefferson Award in Washington, D.C.


Additional information:

Sister Jean Webster was born in New York City, and moved to Atlantic City at the age of four or five. Her career in food service began when she became the first female cook hired by the Marlborough-Blenheim hotel. She later became the first female chef at Caesars, and was working as a chef at the Playboy Casino when she first helped a member of the city's homeless population by buying him a meal with money she had intended to use for a Jitney ride. Instead, Sister Jean walked to work that day. This tradition of selfless giving to others only grew, as word of Sister Jean's generosity spread and she was eventually feeding hundreds of people in her own home, with her own money. When Sister Jean's kitchen moved to the Victory First Presbyterian church, it incorporated many traditions, such as a Thanksgiving dinner every year for the city's needy, and frequent visits from famous entertainers playing shows in Atlantic City. In tougher times, the kitchen has served as many as 800 people a day. Sister Jean died in January 2011 at age 76, but her pledge of service to those in need continues as her kitchen still hands out meals each day.

For more information, see these resources in the Atlantic City Free Public Library, Atlantic City Heritage Collections:
Atlantic City Press, articles from January 12, 2011, September 19, 2007, December 13, 2006, and November 8, 2005
Star Ledger, article from November 25, 2008
Philadelphia Enquirer, article from January 13, 2011
Casino Connection, August 2005, Vol. 14 Vol. 2, #8