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Library’s “Food for Fines” Clears Late Fees, Helps 2nd Harvest Food Bank

Redwood City Library Offers Amnesty for Overdue Fines: “Food for Fines” Helps Second Harvest Food Bank and Families in Need

The Redwood City Public Library, in partnership with the San Mateo County Library and Second Harvest Food Bank, presents a unique way to both clear up unpaid library fines, and build community by donating food to those in need. It’s the third annual “Food-for-Fines” program, which allows library patrons to pay-off their library fines by donating food during the month of December.

Anyone with outstanding library fines is invited to deliver nonperishable food items to any Redwood City library (or to any of the San Mateo County Library’s twelve branches) during regular business hours. Those library patrons with unpaid fines are encouraged to donate food, and they’ll leave the library with a cleared account and the great feeling of having helped others as the holidays approach.

All food collected will be provided to Second Harvest Food Bank, and of course everyone is encouraged to donate food to help those in need, even if they don’t owe any library fines – each library has a special Second Harvest Food Bank bin where donated food items can be placed. In past years, between both the Redwood City Library and the San Mateo County Library system, “Food For Fines” collected nearly two dozen TONS of food, feeding over 1,000 families for one week each, and cleared fines for thousands of library users.

Over 45.5 million pounds of nutritious food is delivered annually by Second Harvest Food Bank to low income people in need in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties. The majority of these people are children and seniors. These millions of pounds of food are provided free of charge to over 300 local nonprofit agencies at more than 700 sites, including pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, and after-school programs.

Please note that food donations as part of the Food for Fines program cannot be applied towards the cost of lost or damaged library items, collection fees, or printing fees. The program is only valid for fines and fees from San Mateo County Libraries and Redwood City Libraries. Libraries can accept only store-sealed items, and cannot accept glass containers.

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