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Restoring Carolina

DDJ serves it up at Food for the Soul

Posted: September 9, 2012 12:45 p.m.
Updated: September 10, 2012 5:00 a.m.
Julie J. Prickett/C-I

Sparkle Graham (far left) oversees work being performed by juveniles from the S.C. Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). In addition to serving clients and stocking the pantry at Food for the Soul, the group helped the organization through gardening and landscaping efforts.

Each September, the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) conducts its Restorings Carolina Through Youth Service program.

From Thursday to Saturday, juveniles in each county spent several hours providing a service to people in their community. This year, 10 to 15 juveniles and three DJJ staff members from Kershaw County helped stock the pantry and feed local citizens at Food For the Soul, located on East DeKalb Street in Camden.

Kershaw County DJJ Director George Jackson said it’s the fourth year the agency has held the statewide day of service. Kershaw County’s juveniles have previously volunteered at the House of Bread food ministry, a part of East Camden Church of God, on U.S. 1.

“They are looking forward to this,” Jackson said, ahead of the service days. “We will be at their beck and call.”

Food for the Soul Director Fred Ogburn said large groups come “periodically,” but not often.

Food for the Soul provides hot meals Tuesday through Friday with the help of Food Service Manager Mabel Brevard. It also provides temporary shelter for those who qualify throughout the year and act as a shelter to those in need during the winter. Food for the Soul is usually closed on Saturday, Ogburn said, but shelter Manager Jimmy Farmer arranged for Restoring Carolina volunteers to help with facility maintenance.

“We have a broad network of more than 100 volunteers,” Ogburn said. “We wouldn’t be able to do it without our volunteer base.”

Ogburn said he is glad to see the “younger generation” get out and volunteer and hopes today’s youth will continue to support their community.

DJJ’s youth are required to do 15 to 50 hours of community service throughout the year depending on their offense and what DJJ feels needs to be given back to the community, Jackson said.

The agency established Restoring Carolina Through Youth Service in 2009. The event coincides with the National Day of Service, which is observed on and commemorates Sept. 11, 2001. Last year, 845 juveniles participated in Restoring Carolina in 46 counties. 

“When a crime is committed by a young person there is harm to the community and repair is needed -- a concept known as Balanced and Restorative Justice (BARJ),”according to a DJJ media packet. BARJ focuses on “repairing the harm and rebuilding relationships….”

DJJ is responsible for rehabilitating and caring for juveniles who are on probation, incarcerated, or on parole for criminal or status offense.

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