About six weeks ago, "we" here in St. Louis went through one major, major summer storm. I say "we" because I had the good fortune to be in Florida for the week (as much as I'd like to say this was intelligent planning, it was really just dumb luck). So, storm hits and a good portion, heck almost all, of the major metro area lost power for at least 24 hours, some folks even up to a week. Personally, my home was out for over four days. I'm lucky enough to have good friends, family and neighbors who, in my absence, cleaned out my fridge and disposed of thawed and spoiled food. Thing is, that food has to be replaced. Enter, a problem for those who can't afford to purchase all new food at once.
So, a local county library started a "Food for Fines" program that is just excellent! Say you have an overdue library book. Bring in a can of food for it, the fine is forgiven. Not bad, eh? The food then goes to help food banks that were strained by the power outages.
Libraries are one of those local resources that are ignored treasures. Most folks haven't set foot in a public library for years. This is just shameful. By the Jefferson County libraries taking on this "food for fines" program, I hope it'll encourage library use AND replenish the food pantry stock.