Photo by Heather Middleton
By Maria-Jose Subiria
Members of the Pre-Trial Intervention and Diversion Program, of the Clayton County Solicitor General's Office, donated canned and non-perishable food items for the food drive the Solicitor General's Office recently conducted, said Tasha Mosley, solicitor general of Clayton County.
The food drive will allow Clayton County families in need, to create a Thanksgiving dinner, by providing them with essential food selections for the holiday, she said.
Mosley said the purpose of the food drive was "to make sure people didn't go hungry, especially on Thanksgiving."
There are currently over 40 boxes containing food items such as collards, green beans, mashed potatoes and yams, according to Mosley. The boxes will be delivered by the Solicitor General's Office to community churches, as well as, Securus House, a non-profit organization for victims of family violence, and the Family Raising Family program of Ambassadors Behind CASA (Clayton County Court Appointed Special Advocates), said Mosley. These entities will then distribute the boxes to the families, she explained.
Mosley said the food will be distributed this Thursday and Friday.
Debbie Stinson, chairperson of Ambassadors Behind CASA, said she is grateful the Solicitor General's Office will deliver food items for the Family Raising Family program.
Stinson said parents sometimes lose custody of their children for a number of different reasons, including accidental death and abandonment.
Participants of the program include family members who step in and take custody of the child, said Stinson. This prevents the child from being placed in the custody of the Clayton County Department of Family and Children Services, she continued.
"A lot of the time [family members] are on a fixed income," she explained.
"Oh, I think it's so fantastic," added Stinson of the food drive. "They [Solicitor General's Office] are such a giving group. I thank them; just a heart-felt thank you for stepping up."
Stinson explained that the Ambassadors Behind CASA is a volunteer-membership organization with a purpose of providing service to the Clayton County Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program. Through CASA, a child involved in juvenile court deprivation proceedings is given a trained community volunteer, who voices the child's best interest.
Mosley said the Solicitor General's Office began collecting food items during the first week of October. The drive lasted six weeks, she added.
Members of the Pre-Trial Intervention and Diversion Program voluntarily donated the food items, although they received credit for their efforts, said the solicitor general.
Carl Freeman, pre-trial intervention director, for the Pre-Trial Intervention and Diversion program of the Solicitor General's Office, said the program is for first-time offenders who have committed minor infractions, such as simple battery and shoplifting.
"They are given the opportunity to go through sessions with facilitators, to maintain a clean criminal history, or background," said Freeman. "Upon completing the program, they have the opportunity to expunge the criminal charge from their record."
There are five facilitators in the county, providing offenders with training and sessions, related to the charges they face, said Freeman.
"Right now we have 150, or more, people, that are actively in the program," he said.