AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - The Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice collected more than 42,000 food items for families in need during its first statewide canned food drive.
"We set a one-can donation goal for each DJJ employee at our sites and offices across the state," said Commissioner Avery Niles. "And when we finished counting from our collection boxes, it totaled tenfold times that."
DJJ's Restock the Shelves winter canned good campaign is already benefiting food pantries and local shelters around the state, including Golden Harvest Food Bank in Augusta. More than 40,000 donated food items works out to nearly 36,000 pounds of food, which equals approximately 30,000 meals.
"We're already hearing a lot of positive things," Niles said. "This is going to do a lot of good in our communities. There are a lot of people in some communities that could use a helping hand."
The canned good collecting was scheduled to end in February, but because of the winter ice storms that pummeled parts of Georgia and left many people snowbound, DJJ extended this restocking campaign halfway into March. The extra effort paid off, helping to keep the volunteers at many Georgia food banks busy.
Niles predicts the unexpected success of DJJ's first Restock the Shelves drive will secure the campaign's future as an annual agency project to benefit Georgia children and families in distress.
For more information about Restock the Shelves, visit the DJJ website.