Linn County library laggards can do good and pay off their fines this month by donating food items

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The Cedar Rapids Public Library is located at 450 5th Avenue SE. — Zak Neumann/Little Village

If you’ve racked up a few dollars (or more) in fines because you’re slow returning your library books, three Linn County libraries are willing to forgive you, if you’re willing to help fight hunger.

Throughout the month of November, the public libraries in Cedar Rapids, Hiawatha and Marion will take off $1 your outstanding fines for overdue materials for each nonperishable food item donated.

Faster readers who have no fines but want to participate are also welcome to donate food items, and the libraries are accepting “pay it forward” donations if people want to help pay off someone else’s fines.

“It’s a great collaboration,” Cedar Rapids Public Library community relations manager Amber McNamara told Little Village in an email. “We love that it’s a way for the public to support such a good cause and also help reduce their fines.”

Last year, the libraries collected more than 5,000 pounds of food, McNamara said.

The food items are donated to Hawkeye Area Community Action Program’s Food Reservoir. The HACAP Food Reservoir distributes more than 6 million pounds of food every year.

There are a couple of limits on the program. Dented cans, glass containers or expired food will not be accepted, and the donations won’t count toward library items that have been lost or damaged.

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