Photo by Kathy Jefcoats
Clayton County Solicitor General Tasha Mosley (left), with staffers Jamila Wideman and Chaundra Lewis, get ready to box up Thanksgiving meals for about 70 families. The food was donated by probationers working off community service hours.
As Tasha Mosley walked the halls of the Clayton County Solicitor General’s Office Wednesday afternoon, a couple of her staffers stopped to brief her on a new domestic violence case.
It was a story all too familiar to Mosley –– a man beating his girlfriend turns on her 9-year-old son, when the boy steps in to protect her. The man stomped the boy in the head and attacked him, too. Mosley looked somber, but not surprised.
“This is our world, every day,” she said. “Call the district attorney’s office and ask them to take this, because those are felonies.”
Mosley prosecutes misdemeanor cases, simple assault, bad checks, driving infractions. Sentences for non-violent offenses are typically probation, fines and community service hours. More serious offenders can spend up to a year in jail.
“We always see the bad,” she said. “We have to try and see the good.”
Mosley’s office contacted churches around the county to ask for the names and addresses of the neediest families. After identifying 70, Mosley offered a deal to probationers in the Pre-Trial Intervention program to collect the food needed to feed those families for Thanksgiving.
"Most of them hate to work for free,” she said. “They have community service hours to work off, but so many would rather give money than work. We told them it doesn’t work that way. However, if they’d buy food for a needy family, we’d give them 15 hours credit in community service.”
The week before Thanksgiving, Mosley rounded up interns and staffers to sort through the donations to create 70 baskets. The dry goods include canned vegetables, boxed stuffing and instant potatoes, packages of rice, and macaroni and cheese, cake mixes and cans of frosting. The families will also get a gift card to buy turkey or ham to round out the meal.
Mosley said it is important to share the wealth.
“You know, we laugh and have a good time and we may complain about this or that, but when you look at it, we’re all OK,” said Mosley of her staff. “We have jobs, we’re able to provide for our families. Our basic needs are covered. We have to give back. Doing this keeps us tied to our community.”
Mosley’s office also collects school supplies throughout the year, is gathering toiletries for local shelters, and is already planning for Christmas. Probationers also donate toys.
“We’ve had them bring in two or three bikes at a time,” she said. “We tell them that they can only get credit for one. It doesn’t matter. They tell us, ‘This is my blessing. I’m just passing it on.’”
As long as the economy is tanking, jobs are scarce and homes are being foreclosed on, Mosley said her office stands ready to lend a hand.
“It’s really fun to give back,” she said. “Everyone has had tough times. Lord knows we did when I was coming up. A single mother with four kids? We had people helping us, and all they asked of us was to just give back. We’ll continue to help people for a long time, because the economy doesn’t seem to be getting better anytime soon.”
To make a donation for back to school or Christmas, contact the Solicitor General’s Office at (770) 477-3380.