The results are in for North Carolina Guardian ad Litem's (GAL) Second Annual Peanut Butter and Jelly (PB&J) Campaign. The goal for organizers this year was to collect 10,000 jars of peanut butter and jelly, but participants managed to collect almost double that amount. The final jar count was 10,959 for peanut butter and 8,076 for jelly for a total of 19,035 jars. All donations are delivered to local food banks as peanut butter is a much needed staple.
"The statewide effort of GAL staff and volunteers was phenomenal and heartwarming," stated Cindy Bizzell, Guardian ad Litem Administrator. "This campaign helped fill the need for peanut butter on shelves in food banks and local pantries and it helped raise an awareness and interest in the work of the GAL program."
This year, 34 GAL offices participated this year, which is nearly double the number of participating offices from last year. The campaign also engaged court and community partners across the state. GAL's court partners included district court judges, district attorney offices, public defender offices, and clerks' offices. Community partners included private attorneys, teachers, civic groups, school athletic teams, law enforcement, military, and faith-based organizations.
The Southport Oak Island Interchurch Fellowship was grateful to receive a donation. "We serve 400 to 500 people monthly with emergency nutritious food. Your gift of peanut butter and jelly is most welcomed," a representative wrote.
According to Feeding America, food insecurity exists in every county of North Carolina. With this in mind, N.C. Guardian ad Litem wanted to help when they learned that 50 percent of those served by the Food Bank are children and seniors. Sadly, food insecurity remains a serious problem in North Carolina. According to a 2015 report, approximately 1.6 million North Carolinians struggle to access nutritious and adequate amounts of food necessary for an active and healthy life.
The North Carolina Guardian ad Litem (GAL) Program is celebrating its 35th anniversary in 2018. Celebratory events are being held in various regions throughout the state this year to mark this major milestone.
About N.C. Guardian ad Litem
The North Carolina Guardian ad Litem equips and trains community volunteers to serve as independent court advocates to represent and promote the best interests of abused and neglected children and youths by advocating for their best interests. The Office of Guardian ad Litem (GAL) Services is a division of the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts. Pursuant to G.S. 7B-601, when a petition alleging abuse or neglect of a juvenile is filed in district court, the judge appoints a volunteer Guardian ad Litem advocate and an attorney advocate to provide team representation to the child, who has full party status in trial and appellate proceedings.
Could you be the voice for a child?
In 2017, more than 2,400 abused and neglected children and youth in North Carolina went to court without someone to advocate just for them. Volunteer to become a Guardian ad Litem Advocate and be the voice for a child.