Community Service Helps Fight Hunger in Macon County

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DECATUR - Those sentenced to community service through Macon County Probation and Court Services have helped fight hunger in Macon County through a year-old program that allows community service hours to be credited for food donations.

The Macon County Community Service Food Donation Program, which started in January 2015, has seen more than 130 people participate through the donation of over $33,000 worth of non-perishable food items.

Those sentenced to community service can receive one hour of service credit for every $5 they spend on donated non-perishable food items. The donated food is brought to the Probation Office lobby at 333 S. Franklin Street in Decatur, and from there it is distributed to area food banks.

"They actually have to go out and purchase the food," said Pat Berter, Director of Macon County's Probation and Court Services. "We have to make sure that they've actually paid for it, so we have a receipt and everything. They can't pay for it with any kind of government assistance or anything like that."

The program was suggested in 2014 by Probation Office staff, who are among the 30 members of Macon County Probation & Court Services Fraternal Order of Police Labor Council Local # 988-4.

"Those sentenced to community service are giving back to their communities, and I can't think of a better way to do that than to provide food to those who need it," said Macon County Community Service Adult Supervisor Jim Taylor. "Although buying food to donate is an option, we are very pleased with the number of people who have stepped up to improve the lives of their neighbors in need while putting their own lives back on track."

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