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2011 Food For Fines Program Collects More Than 4 Tons of Food

Springfield-Greene County Library District patrons donated a whopping 8,357 lbs., — more than 4 tons — of nonperishable food to Ozarks Food Harvest during The Library’s Food For Fines campaign Jan. 23-29.

During The Library’s second “fine amnesty week,” patrons received a 50-cent discount on their overdue fine balance for each item of nonperishable food they donated at the libraries for Ozarks Food Harvest. As a result, the library district forgave about $3,437 in fines. The 2011 drive beat the 3-plus tons collected in 2010.

“The 8,357 lbs. will provide 6,429 meals to our network of more than 300 member food pantries and feeding sites,” said Ozarks Food Harvest spokeswoman Lindsey Neddenriep.

“Food for Fines has become one of The Food Bank’s top five annual food drives,” she added. “For just a week-long food drive event, this amount is amazing. We can’t thank The Library and its supporters enough for their continued efforts to help feed our neighbors in need.”

Library Executive Director Regina Greer Cooper thanked library patrons for supporting the project at all 10 library branches and the Bookmobile.

“The Library is very much a part of the community, and when it started, we thought it would be a good way for some people who were having trouble to take care of their fines,” Cooper said. “We looked at the budget and decided we could offer this opportunity again this year because there was such a positive response from the public. And in fact, part of the donations came from people who didn’t have fines to pay but thought it was a good idea.”

Cooper added, “We are thrilled, with the help of patrons, to provide food for people in need in this region.”

Ozarks Food Harvest-The Food Bank distributes nearly 9 million pounds of food annually to agencies serving poverty stricken children, working poor, families and seniors in 28 southwest Missouri counties, reaching more than 55,000 people every month. In addition to food distribution, Ozarks Food Harvest offers direct relief through its Kids Café, Weekend Backpack Program, Club F.U.N. and Mobile Food Pantry programs.

Kathleen O’Dell is community relations director for the Springfield-Greene County Library District. She can be reached at kathleeno@thelibrary.org.

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