Food for Fines program helps feed needy, knock off overdue library fines



VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. - County officials and library patrons in Volusia are both benefitting from a new program called Food for Fines.

In a couple of weeks, public libraries throughout the county will accept canned food goods in exchange for a reduced library fine.

As Channel 9's Julie Salamone found, last year's efforts set a record and officials are hoping they can collect even more food this year.

On average every month, the Salvation Army gives 125 families food from its pantry, Now, they're helping fewer families and giving less food.

"If someone was to walk in your door right now, what can you give them?" asked Salomone.

"The most we have is pork and beans and some vegetables," said Janioris Diaz Rodriguez of the Salvation Army.

The shelves are almost empty and there's only one box of macaroni and cheese left. The last major donation they received was more than five months ago from a food drive with the U.S. Postal Service.

Nonprofits like the Salvation Army are always in need of donations and soon, the overdue books will help feed those in need.

From Nov. 17 through Nov. 23, Volusia County libraries will take canned food donations. In return, they'll knock money off patrons' overdue library fines. 

"For each item, it's $1 off of your fine and it's up to $25 worth of fines," said Volusia County Community Information Manager Joanne F. Magley.

Last year, 67,000 pounds of food was collected, some from county employees and the rest from the Food for Fines program.  It set a new record for food drives in the county and officials hope to repeat that success this year.