Missouri Department of Corrections inmate donated nearly 137 tons of fresh produce in 2016.
Inmates participating in the Restorative Justice Garden Program donated the food to food pantries, shelters, churches, nursing homes and other organizations.
For many of the organizations that receive the fresh fruits and vegetables, the program is the only source of fresh produce.
George A. Lombardi, director of the Missouri Department of Corrections, said "It is truly amazing that so many food pantries and individuals all across the state have come to depend on the produce that comes from these gardens. Restorative Justice programs like this one provide offenders the means to help repay their debt to society, while teaching them the value of compassion, a quality many of them lack in their lives."
Inmates at the Farmington Correctional Center donated 32 tons of produce, but that was not tops in the state.
Prisoners at the Booneville Correctional Center grew and donated more than 34 tons of produce.
"Thank you so much for your thoughtful contribution of your organization's food harvest to Scott County residents," said Brenda Robinson-Echols of the Lincoln University Cooperative Extension Afterschool Program in Sikeston, Missouri after receiving a donation of produce from the Southeast Correctional Center. "You have joined our efforts to provide families with resources to combat hunger and promote healthy eating habits. Your program helps to meet the needs of many residents who are on a limited budget or fixed income."
The department's Restorative Justice Garden Program operates without the assistance of taxpayer money and grows a variety of produce every year at all 21 adult institutions.