Food For Fines Back This Semester

The popular Food for Fines program is back for the holidays in University libraries.

The program allows students with overdue library books to avoid paying a fine by donating one non-perishable food item to a local food pantry. Students may void one fine for each food item that is donated. The donations may be dropped off in the main building of the library, either on the Queens or Staten Island campus. All donations to the Queens library go to the food pantry at Our Savior Lutheran Church in Jamaica.

According to Marilyn Narson, supervisor of the Circulation Department and the coordinator of the program in Queens, many donations come from students wishing to avoid paying fines, but many others also come from people who simply “want to give.”

This year’s program has garnered fewer donations than in years past. In spring 2009, 1500 items were collected. As of November 24th, 350 items had been collected.
“I don’t think we’re going to reach what we did last year,” Narson said.

She speculated that the economy, as well as other factors, may play a role in the drop in donations.

Students showed mixed reactions to the program.

Freshman Emily Allen noted that the program fits in well with the University’s Vincentian mission.

“If it goes to charity, it is a good idea,” Allen said.

Sophomore Tom King thought that the choice to be charitable should be more personal.

“It is Vincentian, but it is kind of forced,” King said. “There should be a choice to be charitable, although I think it is important to be charitable.”

Freshman Spencer Mamer saw the program as a distraction from a key problem in the library.

“It doesn’t solve the crucial problem of people not returning books,” Mamer said.