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Corrections probation officers donate and deliver Thanksgiving boxes

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Posted at 7:49 AM, Nov 23, 2021

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Just in time for Thanksgiving, Tennessee Department of Corrections probation officers in Davidson County delivered boxes of food donated from their own paychecks to residents in neighborhoods they serve with the goal of building stronger community.

The same officers who donated the Thanksgiving boxes spend their days ensuring offenders under their supervision comply with the conditions of their release. They perform home checks, make office visits, and set up employment opportunities for offenders under their supervision. As of Monday, there were 87 probation officers in Davidson County that supervise 3,870 offenders.

"Yes, we supervise offenders on probation and parole, but in the meantime, we are a resource for families in need as well," explained Tennessee Department of Corrections Probation and Parole District 40 Director Niresha Atkins.

She said once a month, the probation officers' goal is to make it easy for the community to access them, "We just try to let them know, ‘Hey, we're not just the bad guys... but we are here to assist those in need.'"

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Tennessee Department of Corrections Probation Officers from District 40 donate and deliver boxes of Thanksgiving dinner food to residents in neighborhoods they serve in Nashville, Tennessee, during Thanksgiving week.

About 20% of Atkins' district probation officers donate to community members in need through their program once a month.

Atkins explained, "Sometimes it's just a donation. So folks either gave money to go towards the baskets or either brought the items. We sent out a list, they brought the items and as always, I mean, our team always stepped up for every occasion. And like I said, it's just our main thing is always just giving back helping those in need."

For Thanksgiving, the donations were entirely microwavable Thanksgiving meals.

"Canned Turkey, you have canned ham, you have sweet potatoes, you have marshmallows, you have dressing, you have cake, either chocolate or strawberry, you have corn, you have brown sugar, so everything that makes your basic Thanksgiving dinner," detailed Atkins.

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The boxes contained Thanksgiving foods that could all be made in microwaves to serve the widest range of residents.

Beyond the Thanksgiving box drop, District 40's probation officers' monthly mission of connecting with community members in need is to strengthen the community.

Atkins said, "Most of the time when they see our marked cars... pulling up to the home and you know, they're thinking, ‘Oh, something is going to happen.’ And so when this situation when they see our mark ours pull up it’s, ‘Hey, here we are, you know, we're not Santa Claus, but we got a gift for you.’"

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Tennessee Department of Corrections Probation Officers from District 40 donate and deliver boxes of Thanksgiving dinner food to residents in neighborhoods they serve in Nashville, Tennessee, during Thanksgiving week.