JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) — The Jefferson County Library Cooperative is giving those with late fees the opportunity to donate food for their fines.

At each of the 40 libraries across the county, cardholders can donate non-perishable food items, each item taking a dollar off of how much is owed. Getting the most donations has actually become a competition between the libraries.

“One of the other libraries had a thousand items – that’s a lot of items,” Lonnie Jones of the Homewood Public Library said. “We got 569 last year – we’re hoping we can up it this year because we know people need those items.”

The items the libraries are asking for include:

  • Baby food
  • Cereals
  • Soup
  • Canned juice
  • Canned fruit
  • Canned vegetable
  • Peanut butter
  • Crackers
  • Rice or pasta 
  • Pasta sauce
  • Dried beans
  • Side dishes 
  • Snack foods.

Items they will not be able to accept include:

  • Dented cans
  • Rusted cans
  • Damaged items
  • Open packages
  • Packages with expired dates
Eligible items for the annual ‘food for fines’ program must be nonperishable, in date and undamaged.

Each library location chooses their beneficiaries, according to Jones. Donations from Homewood Public Library will go to United Way and Food Bank of Central Alabama

Donors can reduce their fines up to $10, but donations are always welcomed. This food for fines initiative will run all September long and will be offered at each of their library branches.