Food for Fines Week Is Here

Hey you – yeah, you, the one who’s been avoiding the Library because you’ve got overdue fines and money is tight right now. Today through Oct. 24, just bring a few cans of food into a Kansas City Public Library location near you, and, voila, our collection of four-squillion books, CDs and DVDs will once again be at your disposal. Why? Because it’s Food for Fines week.

Here at the Library, we like giving things away. Late fees, of course, are a necessary part of doing business. But it really bums us out whenever we hear that you aren’t coming to partake of our eighteen-quindupletillion free items (OK, OK, more like 1.1 million) because you kept that copy of The Ersatz Elevator too long.

That’s why every year, we team up with the wonderful people at Harvesters Community Food Network to bring you the one time of the year where you get the satisfaction of feeding your fellow citizens and having your foolish fines forgiven in one fell blow.

Each food item erases $1 in late fees for overdue items. And that really adds up. To wit, here’s a Harper’s Index-ian rundown of some of last year’s numbers:

  • Amount of fines forgiven during last year’s Food for Fines: $18,088.59.
  • Total number of food items donated: 19,881. (It’s slightly higher than amount forgiven due to folks’ generosity in bringing extra food.)
  • Average amount of fines forgiven per day: $2,584.
  • Amount forgiven per hour the Library was open during Food for Fines week: $33.
  • Average amount of fines forgiven per Library account: $14.20.
  • Pounds of food Harvesters received during Food for Fines in 2009: 18,108 (just over 9 tons).
  • Equivalent number of meals: 13,939.

So you see, it pays to give. But you can’t just bring in whatever’s moldering in the larder, such as that year-old, brick-hard fruitcake your Aunt Nonnie foisted on you last Christmas.

We will only credit you for undam­aged and unexpired boxed or canned non-perishable food items. Harvesters is always in need of canned meat, peanut butter, canned fruit, canned vegetables, and boxed meals. Non-nutritional beverages such as soda, as well as any beverages in glass or plastic containers will not be accepted. Dented cans are a no-no.

So grab that mac ‘n cheese and come on down. And stay tuned – later this week, we’ll be running a recipe contest.