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Library donations prove a hit for St Helens food bank
A SCHEME which sees library users wipe out their fines by making donations to the St Helens food bank has proved such a success that it is to be extended.
During a trial period in November and December people whose books were overdue were able to pay their fines by giving food parcels.
The council’s library team knocked £1 off every fine for each item donated.
If the fine was less than £1 it was cleared. Fines are normally 10p per day for a book and 40p for DVDs.
Library bosses were prepared to take a temporary hit on fines in an effort to help the food bank through one of its busiest periods.
But it generated so much interest that many library goers visited their local branches to pay off fines with cash as well as make food donations.
Now it is to be extended for a few more months as the food bank continues to grapple with unprecedented demand for its services.
St Helens councillor Richard McCauley said: “We’re hoping to see as many library users as possible over the next few weeks, particularly those who may have been put off returning to the library because of outstanding fines.
“Anyone paying off their fines with food or cash is more than welcome.”
Donations can include almost any tinned or dried packet foods including tinned meat and vegetables, soups, packets of rice and pasta and cereals.
No fresh food will be accepted.
Urgently needed items include UHT milk/powdered milk, sugar (500gms), cartons of orange juice, tinned rice pudding, tinned fruit, instant mash, pasta (1kg), rice, packets of pasta in sauces and jam.
All 13 of the borough’s libraries will be taking part in the collection scheme – and food items may be taken along at any time during normal opening hours (see council website for details).
The St Helens Food Bank provides a minimum of three days emergency food and support to people experiencing crisis.
For more information go to sthelens.foodbank.org.uk.
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