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Food for fines


By Kathy Pillatzki
Assistant Director
Henry County Library System

  Henry County Public Library System is excited to promote a new partnership with the Food Pantry of Henry County. We believe that this cooperative venture will benefit the community, the food pantry, and the library system!

  Throughout the month of January, library patrons who owe overdue fines have the option of donating non-perishable food at the library instead of paying with cash. For every item donated, we will reduce your fines by $1.00. This is a real bargain, since you can easily pick up basic food items for under a dollar.

  How does this help the library? By allowing patrons with overdue books and outstanding fines to start over with a clean slate. It also encourages people to return overdue materials so that other patrons may have access to them, and to correct any past oversights.

  Already we have seen the benefit: on January 2, a gentleman came into the Fairview library with his twin sons. They had overdue books, no doubt overlooked in the rush of holiday activities. He said he was praying on the way to the library that the bill wouldn’t be too high, and was ecstatic that he could reduce the fine with food items. They immediately went to the grocery store, came back with 39 items, and said they’d be back next week with more.

  How does it help the food pantry? The Food Pantry of Henry County distributes food to over 3,100 people every month. They rely on donations, and January is typically a slow month. The holidays are over, the proceeds from canned food drives in the fall have been distributed, yet the need is as great as ever. All food donated through the libraries will be go directly to the food pantry to be distributed in our own community.

  How else does it help the community? Although the food pantry’s mission is to provide emergency assistance with food, the organization also works to connect clients with other resources that can help them transition to more secure financial, housing and employment situations. The library system has numerous resources available to help them meet those goals, including job search resources, resume writing help, test-prep services, and access to computers and the Internet.

  Starting this month, the food pantry will provide a vital link between the library system and Henry County residents in need. Along with their food packages, clients of the pantry will also receive information about library resources that can help them improve their lives. This ultimately benefits the entire community by helping more people make the transition to lifestyles that support our economy and improve the quality of life in our community.

  Please note that Food for Fines can only be used for overdue fines accrued in Henry County, not for lost or damaged materials, or fines assessed by other library systems. If you still need to get your account in good standing but can’t take advantage of Food for Fines, please contact us anyway! No need to be embarrassed, just call or come into the library and we’ll do whatever we can to help you make a fresh start.



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