January 2, 2013 — The Springfield-Greene County Libraries are offering patrons a painless way to pay off overdue book fines while helping others across the Ozarks.
During Food For Fines week, Jan. 27-Feb. 2, the Library will deduct 50 cents from your overdue fines for each item of non-perishable food you donate at the Library. All food will go to Ozarks Food Harvest to provide meals for neighbors in need.
There’s no limit to how much food you can donate, so pay off all your fines at once, or get your fines below $10 so you can check out more books. Twenty canned or boxed items will pay off a $10 fine. The offer does not apply to fees for lost or damaged library items. About 80,000 library cardholders owe some level of overdue fines or fees at any given time.
Just drop off non-perishable items to the checkout desk of any of the district’s 10 library branches or the Mobile Library during regular hours.
What to donate: Canned meats, canned and boxed meals, peanut butter, canned fruit or vegetables, cereal and hygiene items. Please no non-nutritional beverages in plastic or glass containers.
This is the Library’s fourth year partnering with Ozarks Food Harvest in Food For Fines, a program that has grown each year.
• In 2010, patrons donated 6,261 pounds of food, and the Library forgave $3,168 in fines.
• In 2011, patrons boosted their donations to 8,357 pounds while the Library forgave $3,437 in fines.
• In 2012, patrons donated 9,901 pounds of food and the Library waived $5,141.69 in fines. That year, many people donated more food than their fines totaled. One couple living at the Missouri Hotel donated food when they didn’t even have fines.
Why does the Library do it?
Library District Executive Director Regina Cooper considers it part of the Library’s role as a community partner, while giving others the opportunity to be partners.
“This campaign not only helps our neighbors in need, but it gives an opportunity for our patrons to make a donation to a community charity when perhaps they wouldn't be able to write a check or send money to the Ozarks Food Harvest. And as an added bonus, they are able to have their library fines waived. It's a win-win for all concerned.”
Ozarks Food Harvest is the Feeding America food bank for southwest Missouri, serving 250 hunger relief organizations across 28 Ozarks counties. The Food Bank reaches about 80,000 individuals monthly and distributes 12 million pounds of food annually.
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