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By Anne-Marie Despain                         Follow East Palo Alto Today on
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Posted on Wednesday, November 30, 2011    
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Have an overdue book or DVD from the library? Now’s your chance to clear your fine and help others by donating food to those in need during the month of December in the San Mateo County Library’s “Food for Fines” program.
Customers can take any amount of nonperishable boxed or canned food to any of the San Mateo County Library’s 12 branches, or Redwood City Library’s four branches during business hours, and library fines and fees will be waived.  All collected food is donated to the Second Harvest Food Bank.
Building on the success of last year’s “Food For Fines” program, San Mateo County Library and the Redwood City Library collected a total of 30,759 pounds of food and cleared fines for 4,401 library users. Second Harvest Food Bank has said that 25 pounds of food will feed a family for a week. With over thirty thousand pounds of food collected, 1000 families were fed for one week each. 
“There is a growing need for feeding the hungry in San Mateo County” said San Mateo County Supervisor Carole Groom. “This is a wonderful opportunity to provide food for those in need in our community, while clearing up fines and resuming greater use of our outstanding library system.” She also encourages everyone in the community – whether or not they owe fines—to donate food at the library to help people in need this holiday season. 
Each year, Second Harvest Food Bank distributes more than 45.5 million pounds of nutritious food to low-income people in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties. Most are children and seniors. The millions of pounds of food are provided free to 326 local nonprofit agencies at more than 700 sites, including pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, and after-school programs.
Food for Fines is a collaboration between the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, San Mateo County Library, Redwood City Library, and Second Harvest Food Bank. This community food drive presents a great opportunity for residents to give back to the community and take advantage of the great materials and programs the library offers such as downloadable audiobooks, computers classes, music, movies, and storytime.

For more information, contact Anne-Marie Despain, the director of library services at despain@smcl.org or call (650)312-5245.



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