Food for Fines

HANFORD — November is a month of thankfulness, but it is also a month of forgiveness thanks to the Kings County Library.

From Nov. 4-9, Kings County Library branches will participate in their first ever “Food for Fines” program.

During that week, patrons with overdue library fines will be able to donate one non-perishable canned food item to have $1 waved from their fines.

Patrons can have up to $25 waived in fines from their library cards.

Donations will be given to the Episcopal Church of the Saviour soup kitchen to help the community this upcoming winter season.

Tanya Russell, Kings County Library manager, said for the past two years, the library has done a “Fine Forgiveness” week in April.

Russell said the fine forgiveness program has been successful, so this year the library decided to add a week in November that would benefit the community. She said this kind of program has been held successfully in Tulare County and hopes it will also work here.

Food for Fines week will take place at all the Kings County Library branches, including Hanford, Lemoore, Corcoran, Armona, Stratford, Avenal, and Kettleman City.

“We’re hoping to have a really good turnout at all our Kings County Libraries,” Russell said.

The library chose the Episcopal Church of the Saviour because they are close neighbors, just a few blocks away from each other, Russell said.

The soup kitchen, located at 519 N. Douty St. in Hanford, provides thousands of free meals every month

Russell hopes to branch out in upcoming years to benefit different places.

Russell sees the food for fines and fine forgiveness weeks as a win-win. Not only do the programs benefit a good cause, she said it brings people back to the library who may not have done so because of overdue fines.

“When people owe the library, they stop coming,” Russell said. “And we don’t want that.”

During the program week, the library will also replace lost library cards and waive the $2 replacement fee.

If you don’t have any outstanding fines, the library still encourages members of the community to donate canned food items.

Items especially needed are tomato sauce and tomato products, green beans, corn and any other canned vegetables.

The library cannot accept home canned items, cans past their expiration date or with no expiration date, cans that are dented or damaged, food in glass containers or ramen.

Patrons who have been sent to collections cannot have their fines waived, but are welcome to visit the library to discuss payment options.

The reporter can be reached at 583-2423 or jzavala@hanfordsentinel.com

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