Kansas City Public Library 'Food for Fines' Program Sets New Record

Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Paul Smith
Kansas City Public Library 'Food for Fines' Program Sets New Record

For the second straight year, the Kansas City Public Library has collected a record-breaking number of canned goods and other donated foodstuffs during its annual Food for Fines program, held last week from August 18 through August 24.

The 10 Library locations received 25,074 donated items – a 17 percent increase over the 21,362 items received last year. The Library forgave $21,574 in fines, compared to $18,263 in forgiven fines last year.

Throughout the Food for Fines drive, the Library partnered with Harvesters – The Community Food Network, which reported the total weight of all donations at 21,564 pounds or nearly 11 tons. Kansas City Public Library patrons donated enough food to provide 16,588 meals. Covering a 13-county metropolitan area, Harvesters provides food to more than 550 nonprofit agencies, including emergency food pantries, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, children’s homes, homes for the mentally disabled, and shelters for battered persons.

“With rising food and gas prices forcing the food industry to cut back on donations, community efforts such as the Kansas City Public Library’s Food For Fines program are more important than ever,” said Paula Pratt, Harvesters’ director of Community Outreach. “We truly appreciate the Library’s support of Harvesters and those in need in Kansas City.”

For more than 10 years, the Food for Fines program at the Kansas City Public Library has allowed patrons to donate non-perishable food items in exchange for a one dollar reduction in existing fines per item. The forgiven fines and fees include: overdue fines, lost or damaged item fees, replacement Library card fees, as well as video and/or DVD rental fees. In lieu of fine reductions, each donated item may be exchanged for a free video or DVD check-out – which normally costs $1 for feature materials.