Over the past year, inmates at state prisons and juveniles at a youth-development center raised over 35,800 pounds of fresh produce and donated it to local food banks.
N.C. Department of Public Safety “horticulture programs have yielded massive donations to feed low-income seniors and families across North Carolina while teaching inmates valuable work and life skills they’ll need to turn their lives around,” said Gov. Pat McCrory.
Johnston Correctional Institution near Wilson’s Mills was among the prisons taking part in the hunger-relief effort.
Started last spring, the project is a partnership between the Department of Public Safety and the national nonprofit group Harvest Now.
The project’s goal is to fight hunger and improve health. One strategy for doing this is supplying hungry families with healthier food options like fresh produce, traditionally an expensive and scarce commodity in North Carolina food banks.
“We feel the DPS programs that are donating so much fresh produce to those who cannot afford to feed themselves are beneficial to our communities and their citizens’ quality of life, as well as to the inmates and offenders who raise the crops,” said Secretary of Public Safety Frank L. Perry. “They learn agricultural skills, and perhaps more importantly, they learn from their labor the value of hard work and of helping others who are in need.”
In addition to the prisons working with the Combating Hunger project, Caledonia Prison Farm donated 14,700 pounds of turnip greens to the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina in December. Caledonia also donated sweet corn to the bank during the summer.
The youths of Stonewall Jackson Youth Development Center raised 700 pounds of produce that went to Cabarrus County Meals on Wheels.