Lots of libraries do a Food for Fines week, especially during National Library Week. But consider collaborating with a food pantry in your community, to offer a Food For Fines day on a more frequent basis.
Not only does it ...
- help people in your community, but it also
- brings you closer in collaboration with other nonprofit groups in the area,
- can inspire other groups to hold food drives, and
- gives your library an opportunity for more media exposure.
Here's how it works at the Jefferson County (MO) Library:
- At first we ran it for several weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Later, after talking to people at some of the food pantries, we realized that there was a great need for food donation all year round, so we made it a monthly program. This occurred just before the recession hit in 2008. A lot of families in our county have been very hard hit by the recession and still are; this project just struck a chord with the community. Our annual donations have basically doubled since 2008. Since then many other local organizations and businesses have started hosting food donation events. I like to think that we helped show them the way.
- The library now runs the program for a full day on the last Friday of each month. The amount of food they receive each month varies, says Klipsch, “but the statistics we’ve kept since we started show that in the last seven-and-a-half years we’ve collected 46,525 canned food items.”
- Building public awareness about the Food for Fines program has been pretty easy according to Klipsch. “The local media has been very supportive. We send out a press release every month to newspapers, radio and community cable channel, and online news media, and we always include how much was collected the month before, and the total year to date. At the beginning of the new year we send out a press release that includes the totals for the year just completed and the media have done some nice feature stories using that information. We also have a “Food for Fines” page on our web site, and we activate the graphic in the front page slideshow that links to the FFF page about a week before the monthly event.”