MANALAPAN, NJ - Throughout the month of April, participating branches of the Monmouth County Library will forgive library fines in return for food donations, as part of the 2013 Food Drive to benefit the FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties.

Library patrons who have outstanding materials can bring their food items to the circulation desk at each Library branch. In return, the libraries will reduce their fines by $1 for every food item donated. Separate bins will be placed in the libraries for people who do not have fines but wish to donate food items.

The Library’s highly successful Food for Fines program first ran in 2006 as a way to commemorate National Library Week. In just one week in April 2011, the Library collected more than six tons of food items for local food pantries.

“The Library’s Food For Fines program began seven years ago as a most useful and active way to commemorate National Library Week,” said Freeholder Lillian G. Burry, liaison to the Library. “The Library’s resounding success in 2011 served as the inspiration for last year’s county-wide Food Drive to benefit the FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties.”

In 2012, in conjunction with other Monmouth County departments as part of National County Government Month, the Library expanded its Food for Fines program for the entire month of April. The month-long food drive last year brought in a total of more than 11 tons of food throughout the county. Burry noted that last year, the Library forgave more than $20,000 in fines during the food drive.

The Monmouth County Library is proud to once again join with the county’s Food Drive for 2013. The Food for Fines program will run throughout the month of April at participating library branches, including Library Headquarters in Manalapan, Eastern Branch in Shrewsbury, and branches in Atlantic Highlands, Colts Neck, Howell Township, Hazlet, Ocean Township, Marlboro Township, Wall Township and West Long Branch.

In addition, the county Park System has added two collection points for the April Food Drive, according to Freeholder Burry: one at the Thompson Park Visitor Center off Newman Springs Road in Middletown Township, and one at the Manasquan Reservoir Environmental Center on Georgia Tavern Road in Howell Township.

Other donation points are: the Belford Ferry Terminal in Middletown Township, the Hall of Records in Freehold, and the county’s Human Services and Agricultural buildings off Kozloski Road in Freehold Township.

Non-perishable food items needed include: canned goods, fruit juices, baby foods and formulas, powdered milk, cerals, pasta, rice, beans, tomato and pasta sauce and peanut butter and jelly.

“We hope that all Monmouth County residents will open their hearts this Spring, especially at this time of need, when many families are still feeling the ill effects of Superstorm Sandy,” Burry said. “Please donate as many non-perishable food items as you can during April at the county collection points.”

Donations will go to support the more than 200 charities that the FoodBank serves.

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