As the Monmouth County Library‘s April Food Drive enters its second full week, those who donate will have the opportunity to get a little something back in recognition of their generosity, when the ‘Food for Fines’ program affords the opportunity for anyone with an outstanding balance for overdue books to have charges forgiven in return for a donation.
Collection bins are in place at the Eastern Branch Library in Shrewsbury and other Monmouth County locations to accept non-perishable product donations. The drive is part of the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders partnership with the Foodbank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties to help alleviate hunger.
“Visitors and library patrons may contribute non-perishable, high- protein items whether borrowing or returning a book or attending a presentation. National Library Week is a way to show how living what we learn is put into practice by recognizing there are people who could use some help,” said Freeholder Director Lillian G. Burry, liaison to the Monmouth County Library System.
“The Library System continues to be an excellent venue for supporting the FoodBank. The locations are visited regularly in many towns and it makes sense for them to serve as main collection points for the April food drive”
‘Food for Fines’ permits library patrons who have outstanding materials to bring a food donation to the library counter from now through Saturday, April 15. The libraries will reduce the fines by one dollar for every food item donated. Those who visit the library and do not have fines are also encouraged to contribute.
The County has partnered with the FoodBank since April 2012 to collect food donations during a time when donations typically are lower. This year’s goal is to restock the food pantry shelves each spring.
“The FoodBank network serves 132,000 people, including 40,000 children in Monmouth and Ocean counties,” explained Freeholder Deputy Director John P. Curley, liaison to Social Services. “In addition to distributing food items, it also supports educational courses in schools, and provides outreach services to families who may be eligible for food stamps or healthcare. April is the month when we are called to lend a hand to those in need, including our friends and neighbors.”
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.
In addition to the Library in Shrewsbury, collection bins are available at many other local sites, including the Visitors Center at Thompson Park in Lincroft, and the Fort Monmouth Recreation Center in Tinton Falls.