For the second year, Omaha Public Library partnered with Alliance for a Better Omaha to offer Food for Fines, a week where patrons could donate non-perishable food items to waive up to $20 in late fees from their OPL accounts.
The program serves a dual purpose of helping patrons reduce late fees on their accounts (in some cases bringing them back into the library) and providing food to the organizations that make up the Alliance — Food Bank for the Heartland, opens a new window, Heart Ministry Center, opens a new window, and Together, opens a new window.
"Food for Fines is a great example of the commitment of everyone involved to help support a community need," said OPL Executive Director Laura Marlane. "It also provides library patrons with an opportunity to do good for themselves and others."
During this year's Food for Fines week, which took place Oct. 14-21, 589 patrons donated 3,378 lbs of food, which will provide 2,815 meals for those served by the Alliance. These donations resulted in a collective $3,995.93 in late fees being waived from patrons' accounts.
"We are so thankful to Omaha Public Library and its patrons for their amazing support in our efforts to help our fellow Omahans who are experience hunger," said Craig Howell, director of Alliance for a Better Omaha.
While the donations from Food for Fines will help the Alliance provide meals to the hungry in Omaha, Howell emphasized that donations and volunteers are essential to the organization's success year-round. Non-perishable food donations can be donated at the locations listed below or you can visit each organization's website to learn about volunteer opportunities: