Boonville Correctional Center donates 37 tons of food in 2015

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BOONVILLE – Local food banks, shelters and churches benefitted from fresh produce gathered by inmates at the Boonville Correctional Center.

The Missouri Department of Corrections said Wednesday the correctional center provided more than 37 tons of produce in 2015, the most out of any of the Missouri correctional facilities participating in the state's Restorative Justice Garden Program.

“I am proud of the efforts of our staff and volunteer offenders, who have worked hard to help families in need,” said Department of Corrections Director George Lombardi in a press release.

Neighbors Helping Neighbors Food Bank in downtown Boonville receives produce from the local correctional center regularly. Tresurer Ed Tiff said the food bank couldn't provide as many healthy options without the prison's donations.

“It has a tremendous impact,” Tiff said. “We know that fresh fruit and vegetables are a very important part of a healthy diet, and if we can provide that it makes a huge difference. Especially to the children that we serve.”

Tiff said about a quarter of the food bank’s clients are children. Neighbors Helping Neighbors serves around 500 people total in the Boonville area.

"Our goal is to have 25% of our offering be fresh produce," he said. "We get several thousand pounds of produce from the prison, and that really makes a difference in our distribution to the folks that need it."

The Department of Corrections said its correctional facilities donated a total of 91 tons of fresh produce last year.