Penn Libraries offers amnesty for donated food

It’s a win-win proposition: During the holiday season, users of the Penn Libraries can help fight hunger in the Philadelphia area while paying off their overdue library fines. As part of the Libraries’ “Food for Fines” food drive and amnesty program, patrons who donate a non-perishable food item will receive a $1 credit toward unpaid fines for each item donated.

The donated food will be given to Philabundance, the Philadelphia region’s largest food bank and hunger relief organization.   

Donated items must be non-perishable and packaged in boxes, cans, or plastic bottles. Items in glass containers cannot be accepted. The food items most needed are canned/shelf-stable tuna, canned beef stew, canned chili, canned pasta, canned fruit cocktail, canned corn, boxed cereal, and creamy peanut butter and jelly in plastic containers.

Last year, 506 items—or 439 pounds of food—were collected during the inaugural “Food for Fines” drive.

“What was really nice last year was some people donated food when they didn’t even have fines,” says Andrea Loigman, the Libraries’ head of access services.

Food donations are being collected at the Van Pelt Circulation Desk, but the fine amnesty applies to late fees at any of the 15 Penn Libraries. The amnesty can be used to only cover late fines and processing fees, with a maximum credit of $20.

For more information about “Food for Fines,” visit the Penn Libraries website.

Food for Fines