Probationers help boost Bread Basket Food Drive

Clayton County State Court probationers helped make the county's first Bread Basket Food Drive a success, proving that even as people struggle in the worsening economy, they will do what they can to help others, said officials.

The participants in the DUI/Drug Court collected and donated more than 1,300 cans of food to help feed needy families, said Katrina Hood. Hood is the court's program coordinator.

The food drive was sponsored by the Association of Christian Ministers of Clayton County. Hood said participation by probationers was a win-win proposition.

“We are so proud to have established, and maintained, a program that directly and simultaneously aids the citizens of the community as well as the program participants," she said.

The Bread Basket Food Drive culminated Thanksgiving Day at Charles Drew High School, in Riverdale. Bread Basket Project Coordinator Teresa Pugh said people who showed up to eat also were given the opportunity to get free health screenings, warm clothes, and toiletry items.

The probationers have struggled with drug or alcohol addictions. The chance to help others, who also suffer adversities, goes a long way toward probationers gaining control of their lives, officials said.

“In our program’s continued mission to restore justice in the county, participants eagerly accept the opportunity to show their appreciation for a second chance in gaining control of their sobriety, and turning their lives around," said Hood.

"They know very well that they are helping the lives of others, just as the program has helped them to gain control of their sobriety. We are all very excited and look forward to continuing this tradition."

Court Programs Coordinator Ashley Arnold said probationers made the needy a top priority, despite their own personal challenges.

“It is very admirable that, in times when so many are forced to choose between paying utility bills, and purchasing food for the family, the participants of the program are more than willing to donate to those in more dire need than themselves," she said.

"Fewer people can afford to give, and yet, the results of community-service requests show just how extensively the program positively inspires those involved."

To participate in future drives, contact the Court Administration Office of the Harold R. Banke Justice Center at (770) 477-3412. During designated times, contributions include non-expired, non-perishable foods,and/or toiletry items.