Supervisor Katrina Brown, James River Juvenile Detention

When the COVID-19 pandemic swept into Central Virginia, the staff at James River Juvenile Detention changed the way they worked. There was more cleaning, along with employee temperature checks and social distancing.

Supervisor Katrina Brown still worried about her coworkers’ well-being. She knew some had been furloughed from part-time jobs with other employers. Brown wanted to help.

“Hard times will come and hard times will go, but the way we take care of each other during those times is what matters,” she said.

Brown created a food pantry for struggling coworkers. She asked friends and family to donate. She also reached out and received items from another food pantry.

“We can’t support everybody financially here, but we can do something to help,” Brown explained.

On April 13, James River Juvenile Detention Superintendent Mike Martin cut a ceremonial ribbon to dedicate the pantry.

He recognized Brown for going above and beyond.

“This effort she selflessly began has the opportunity to positively impact the lives of many employees and family members,” Martin said.

The pantry is stocked with essentials like canned goods, cleaning supplies and personal hygiene items. Some staff members have used what is in the pantry; others have donated to it.

“If we support people in that way, then hopefully that frees up money for them to take care of other bills that they need to take care of,” Brown said.

She has worked at the facility for nearly 20 years. Brown said her coworkers are like family.

“We take care of family and I think that’s what it’s about,” she added, “just taking care of each other.”


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