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Food For Fines: Wipe Out Your Library Fines While You Wipe Out Hunger

Did you start the new year with that dreaded library fine still hanging over your head? Here’s a way to whittle it down -- and help others at the same time.

The Springfield-Greene County Library District has partnered with Ozarks Food Harvest – The Food Bank, to let kids and adults pay off their library fines for one week in January in exchange for donations of non-perishable food to the region’s food bank.

“Food For Fines” week is planned during library business hours from January 24 through January 30, 2010.

During that week, library patrons will receive a 50-cent credit on their existing library fine balance for each donated item of non-perishable food in undamaged and unexpired boxes or cans. Items may include canned meat, peanut butter, canned fruit, canned vegetables, and boxed meals. Non-nutritional beverages such as soda, and beverages in glass or plastic containers will not be accepted.

There’s no limit on the amount of donated food. Only fines for overdue materials are eligible.

Here’s how it works: At 50 cents per donated item, a patron can pay off a $10 fine with 20 cans or boxes of food; or wipe out a $20 fine with 40 items of food.

Patrons may deliver non-perishable items to the checkout desk at any of the district’s 10 branch libraries or bookmobile during regular business hours. A librarian will apply the credit to a patron’s account.

All food will be donated to Ozarks Food Harvest to restock their shelves after the holidays, when food supplies traditionally are low.

“Food for Fines is a partnership that will be sustained by the generosity of the library's customers and the expertise of Ozarks Food Harvest,” said Jim Schmidt, the library’s associate director of public services. “Library staff anticipate a great event and are extremely happy and proud to participate.”

Ozarks Food Harvest-The Food Bank distributes nearly 5 million pounds of food annually to agencies serving poverty stricken children, working poor, families and seniors in 29 southwest Missouri counties, reaching more than 41,000 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.

For more information about Food For Fines, call Kathleen O’Dell, community relations director, at 616-0564.


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