TOMS RIVER – The Ocean County Library will partner with the Ocean County Health Department to offer library customers a way to take care of their overdue library charges and help the community through the Food for Fines program.
The library will accept non-perishable, non-expired food during the week of July 9th through the 15th in exchange for 50 cents per item, up to a total of $20, towards removing the customer’s overdue fines.
Credit goes towards overdue items only and will not be applied towards collection replacement fees.
Customers who do not have fines may also make donations of non-perishable food items at any Ocean County Library location.
Food collected during the Food for Fines program will be donated to the FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties. Suggested food items include canned food, pasta, cereal and rice. Baby food and formula will not be accepted.
“Summer is the time when we see a significant drop in food donations,” said Linda Keenan, the FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties Director of Development.
The library has conducted food drives in the past. In 2009 the library collected more than two tons of food.
“We hope to collect more than that this year,” said Ocean County Library Director Susan Quinn.
“The Food for Fines program is a great opportunity to help our less fortunate neighbors with our Ocean County Library turning a negative situation into a helping, positive experience,” said Ocean County Freeholder Joseph H. Vicari.
“This program also provides an opportunity to focus public attention on the need to support the FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties. I encourage those who return their books on time to make contributions as well,” he said.
Vicari also serves as the Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders liaison to the library.
“Food for Fines gives someone the opportunity to pay their fine,” said Ocean County Health Department Public Information Officer Leslie Terjesen, “but more importantly, helps to put food on someone’s table.”