York County Libraries encourage patrons to trade food for fines

Maria Yohn
York Dispatch
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York County Libraries are offering patrons the chance to pay off their outstanding fines and help hungry people in their communities by donating food for fines.

The annual Food for Fines program is being held through the month of May during regular operating hours at each of the 13 York County Libraries' locations as well as the Salem Square Library, according to a news release. 

The program has become a staple of the community, as it's been held on an almost yearly basis since Deb Sullivan, York County Libraries community relations director, began working for the library system 17 years ago.

For Sullivan, the program is a win-win, as the library system can lure back patrons who no longer visit their local library because of outstanding fines, and their payment benefits people who are in need of food.

"It helps them, and at the same time, they're helping other community members who are hungry," she said.

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Each library selects a food bank that is close to its area, so the donations will be kept as local as possible, Sullivan said. 

Last year, the libraries collected 3,000 nonperishable food items and donated them to food banks across the county, she said.

For each food item a patron donates, $1 will be deducted from their overall fines, according to the release.

However, Sullivan emphasized that the program applies to late fees only and does not apply to library items that have been lost.

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All food donations should be nonperishable items in cans, boxes, bags or pouches, Sullivan said.

In the past, individuals have donated items such as cereal, soup, rice, beans, macaroni and cheese, juice, peanut butter and canned meat such as tuna, chicken and salmon that doesn't require refrigeration before opening, according to the release. 

The libraries will not accept outdated food or dented or rusted cans. 

Food will be collected at the following locations and donated to the local food pantries indicated:

  • Arthur Hufnagel Public Library of Glen Rock: The Well
  • Collinsville Community Library: Mason-Dixon Community Service, Delta
  • Dillsburg Area Community Library: New Hope Ministries, Dillsburg
  • Dover Area Community Library: New Hope Ministries and Dover Food Bank
  • Glatfelter Memorial Library: New Hope Ministries, Hanover
  • Kaltreider-Benfer Library: Red Lion Area Community Services and Emmanuel's Closet, Dallastown
  • Kreutz Creek Valley Library Center: Eastern York Food Pantry, Wrightsville
  • Martin Library and Salem Square Library: Catholic Harvest Food Pantry, York
  • Mason-Dixon Public Library: Southern York County Food Pantry, New Freedom
  • Red Land Community Library: Red Cap Food Ministry, Lewisberry
  • Paul Smith Library of Southern York County: Southern York County Food Pantry, New Freedom
  • Village Library: Christ United Methodist Church Food Pantry of Jacobus.

For more information, visit www.yorklibraries.org