Monmouth County Library allows food donation in exchange for fines

FREEHOLD, NJ – April 12 marks the beginning of National Library Week and the Monmouth County Library System is marking the occasion by offering the “Food for Fines” program as part of MonmouthCounty’s month-long food drive.

“The County’s libraries and parks are the public gathering places in many communities, so it makes sense that our libraries and parks are key collection points for this annual food drive,” said Freeholder Lillian G. Burry, liaison to the Library System. “The ‘Food for Fines’ program is a good way to get outstanding material returned to the library and help a good cause at the same time.”

The branches of the Monmouth County Library System will be participating in the food drive all month, but they will add the “Food for Fines” program from April 12-25. Participating locations will be: Headquarters in Manalapan, Eastern Branch in Shrewsbury, Atlantic Highlands,  Colts Neck, Hazlet, Howell, Marlboro, Ocean Township, Oceanport, Wall and West Long Branch.

“As the main collection points, our County libraries have already been very busy collecting the food for the food drive,” said Freeholder John P. Curley. “I commend the staff at all of our library branches for taking on these extra duties and helping out with this worthwhile cause.” 

The “Food for Fines” program at the libraries works this way: from April 12 through April 25, patrons who have outstanding materials will bring their food to the library counter. The libraries will reduce the fines by $1 for every food item donated. Donation bins will also be available in the libraries for people who do not have fines but want to donate food as well.

Food items suitable for donation are non-perishable, protein-rich foods such as peanut butter, granola bars and tuna fish. Other most needed food items are ready-to-eat canned meals, canned fruits, canned vegetables, instant potatoes, canned and dry soup, canned pork and beans, canned juices, sip-size juices and hot and cold cereal.

Curley reminds residents that they don’t have to owe a library fine to participate in the food drive.