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Enoch Pratt Library Partners With Maryland Food Bank In Food For Fines Initiative

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FOOD FOR FINES
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Ron Matz is an Emmy award-winning reporter who joined the Eyewitness...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Do you have an overdue library book? Well, the Enoch Pratt Library has begun a unique effort to help you pay your fine and at the same time help others.

Ron Matz has more on Food for Fines.

The canned goods and other foods are flowing into the Pratt Central Library and other branches. It’s Food for Fines, a chance to pay off your overdue books and at the same time help the Maryland Food Bank.

“We decided to partner with the Maryland Food Bank,” said Roswell Encina, Enoch Pratt Free Library. “The statistics they gave us were very sobering. Almost a half million people in their service area are what they call food insecure. This means they are working folks, working families who do not know where their next meal is coming from. When we heard that it was a no brainer for us to partner with them.”

More than 30 boxes of food have already been collected in the program’s first week.

“For each canned good you give us, it’s a dollar off your library fine. If you give us five cans, it’s $5 off. If you give us 10 cans, it’s $10. There’s no limit at all. If you want to give us a truckload, we’ll take it,” Encina said. “You can go to any Pratt location from Patterson Park to Reisterstown Road from Roland Park to Light Street, and they’ll take your canned goods, and it’s going on the entire month of January.”

Kate Sam of the Maryland Food Bank says hunger doesn’t stop because the holidays are over.

“Everybody talks about hunger during the holidays, but it really does exist beyond the holidays,” Sam said. “Now is the time of year when people are choosing between heating their home or feeding their family.”

Nearly a half million people served by the Maryland Food Bank are going hungry; 162,000 of them are children.

“We’re really excited for every dollar people want off their fines at the library. Just bring a can of food in and that fine is wiped out and that will come to the Maryland Food Bank, and we’ll get it out to families that need it,” Sam said.

“It also helps us. It refocuses our patrons on their fines. If they have a couple dollars’ worth of late fines, this is a way to pay those off and help your neighbor at the same time,” Encina said.

It’s a perfect partnership at Pratt branches everywhere.

“The library and the food bank are both focused on strengthening communities, getting those basic needs to families,” Sam said.

Even if you don’t have an overdue book, the Pratt Library will also happily accept donations for the Maryland Food Bank.

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