Marion, IA (December 8, 2017) - Marion Public Library announced today that patrons contributed 5,230 pounds of non-perishable food items in the organization’s annual “Food for Fines” program. This amount of donated food equates to 4,358 meals. Consortium mates Cedar Rapids Public Library and Hiawatha Public Library also collected impressive donations; together, the Metro Library Network received 8,640 pounds of food (7,200 meals). This outweighs last year’s total contributions by over 1,300 pounds.
While designed to allow patrons to “pay” fines with donated food, the Marion community approached the initiative as an opportunity to give without any additional incentive. “A minimal amount of the food donated at our library went to pay off fines,” Elsworth Carman, Marion Library Director said. “When people found out we were doing this to help our neighbors in need in the corridor, our patrons brought in hundreds of pounds every week. Of this amount, less than 10% of the food donated eliminated donor fines.”
Some generous donors also asked that their contributions “pay it forward,” in that their food or cash donation helped pay someone else’s library fines. Patrons could donate food in from November 1-30, 2017. All food items went to the HACAP Food Reservoir for community distribution.
“The HACAP Food Reservoir is so appreciative for this fantastic community food drive! Food for Fines will help feed and nourish those in need of food this holiday season,” Linda Gorkow, HACAP Food Reservoir Director said. “Libraries feed the minds of our community members daily. The Food for Fines program conducted by the library will help us literally feed the food insecure living in Eastern Iowa. Thank you for everyone who made the event a great success.”
All three libraries in the Metro Library Network (Marion, Cedar Rapids and Hiawatha) participated in the Food for Fines program.
Through a similar program last year, the three libraries donated 7,328 pounds of food to HACAP which ensures that the families within our communities have access to nutritious foods, no matter their financial situation.