DJS Peach Giveaway, a Maryland Unites Initiative

Family looking at peaches

On August 12, the Department of Juvenile Services (DJS) held a Peach Giveaway for the community at the Baltimore City Juvenile Justice Center, participating in Governor Hogan's Maryland Unites, Day of Service Initiative. During the event, DJS gave away 2,000 pounds of peaches to people who live and work in Baltimore City. On the day of the event, hundreds of people stood in line with their recyclable, paper and plastic bags waiting to get their free organic peaches. When they got to the front of the line, many people discussed what they would do with the fruit. So many recipes were shared among strangers, coworkers and friends.

The event had a dual-purpose, to give DJS youth the experience of picking fresh peaches straight from the source and to give back to the Baltimore City community. In order to prepare for the event, the youth, staff and DJS Secretary Sam Abed traveled to Western Maryland to pick the peaches from Simmons Farm in Western Maryland. They then packed the fruit in crates and loaded a van to get the peaches back to Baltimore.

"Picking peaches with more than a dozen of our DJS kids was a unique and rewarding experience for all," said Secretary Abed. "Not only are we assisting our youth to become successful leaders, we are also distributing the organic fruit to the Baltimore City community."

In addition to picking 2,000 pounds of peaches, DJS youth also made over 48 jars of peach jam and some youth centers even made peach pies, both of which will be added to the facility menus until the limited supply runs out.

The peaches were donated by Lou Simmons, owner of Simmons Farm in Cumberland, Maryland. Simmons and DJS have a long standing partnership and have worked together in the past. DJS Youth picked apples from his orchard last fall.

Maryland Unites was created in April, in the wake of the civil unrest in Baltimore City, and has raised more than $500,000 toward relief efforts. The Day of Service initiative is an opportunity for State employees to offer their time and talents to benefit our citizens through community service.

"These days of service are about the spirit of giving back and sharing it with our state and our local communities," said Governor Hogan.

Peach Giveaway Photo Album

WBALT-TV News DJS Peach Giveaway

Video highlights from the DJS Peach Giveaway