In seven short days, Springfield-Greene County Library District members donated 7,172 pounds of nonperishable food for Ozarks Food Harvest during the library’s fifth Food for Fines campaign. The food was donated to Ozarks Food Harvest on Feb. 4.
Food for Fines, which was open to all ages, ran Jan. 26 through Feb. 1 at all 10 library branches and the Mobile Library bookmobile.
In exchange, food donors got 50 cents off their overdue fines for every item of food they brought in. By week’s end, librarians waived $3,189.94 in fines they would have collected for overdue materials. Some people also donated food without having any overdue fines.
That 7,172 pounds of food will provide 5,976 meals for families served by Ozarks Food Harvest, said Sara McClendon, the food bank’s food drive outreach assistant.
The 2014 campaign fell just shy of the 7,433 pounds of food donated last year, but brings the five-year total of food collected to 39,124 pounds, library officials said.
“We are very grateful for the generosity of Springfield-Greene County Library District patrons and staff,” she said. “Donations at The Food Bank tend to decline during the first few months of the year, which makes Food for Fines an incredibly important partnership for the 20,000 individuals we serve each week.”
Food for Fines is a creative way for the library and card holders to join a community project that benefits families in 28 southwest Missouri counties, said Executive Director Regina Cooper.
“Also, many people don’t feel they can donate enough food or money to Ozarks Food Harvest to make a difference,” Cooper said. “But by combining their $1 or $5 worth of food with everyone else’s, their donation becomes part of a huge gift – a gift of 7,172 pounds of food.”
Food for Fines also gives library users another way to pay down their overdue fines below the $10 cutoff so they can again check out books, music, movies and use the public computers, she said.
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