Yadkin County Guardian ad Litem volunteers are partnering with the Yadkin Rotary, Yadkin Clerk of Court, and other community groups to collect PB&J for the Yadkin Christian Ministries food bank now through Jan. 12, 2018, to be distributed on the National Day of Service Jan. 20.
“Since Guardian ad Litem advocates for abused and neglected children in foster care, peanut butter and jelly – a nutritional childhood favorite, is the focus of our drive statewide,” said Cathy Davidson, GAL supervisor in Yadkin County.
North Carolina ranks among the top 10 states with the highest percentages of children under 18 years of age who are food insecure on a regular basis.
“Peanut butter is something all food banks need. GAL added the collection of jelly because we were all once children and remember peanut butter and jelly sandwiches as a staple of a happy childhood. We believe that our peanut butter and jelly drive will help us mobilize and engage our neighbors, friends and community groups to help us in getting these items to our local food bank and will also give us all a better awareness of Guardian ad Litem,” said Rotary Club President Susan Gmeiner, who is also a GAL volunteer advocate.
“GAL is seeking more volunteers to advocate for children involved in the Yadkin court system by no fault of their own,” Davidson said. “We have a new training class coming up in January and really need the help, with over 20 local children without a GAL advocate because we just don’t have enough volunteers.”
PB&J collection boxes are available for donations at the GAL office in the Yadkin County Courthouse (across from the Clerk of Court’s office), at Hibco, and at Mountain View Baptist Church, whose youth are participating in the PB&J drive. Also, any Rotary member can take contributions, all of which go to Yadkin Christian Ministries.
Other churches, companies and agencies who would like to participate with a collection box, should contact Davidson at the Yadkin GAL office by calling 336-937-2623.
Last year, 79 Yadkin children went through the court system because of abuse and neglect by their families. Of those, about two-thirds were able to go back home or to live with relatives, most of the others were adopted by new families.
Guardians ad Litem are not “guardians” in the traditional sense. They are appointed by the judge to get to know the children, look into their situation and options, and report to the court the children’s desires and best interests.
Most importantly, they visit the children monthly to make sure they remain happy, healthy and safe in foster care. The GAL’s reports help the judge make an informed decision about the child’s future. The average time commitment after training may be less than 8 hours a month after a case begins.
“The beauty of this volunteer opportunity is that it is relatively easy to fit truly significant work into your personal schedule,” Davidson said. “The results can make all the difference in a Yadkin child’s life.”