Only two days remain in the El Paso Public Library's Food For Fines program.
The program is part of the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Canned Food Donation Drive. Those who donate canned goods can have up to $5 in late fees waived from their account.
"People may not have the money to pay their fines right away," said Jack Galindo, the marketing coordinator for the city library. "But certainly, everybody has a can or two of beans or corn or something in their pantry that they haven't used for whatever reason."
The drive started last Saturday and runs until closing time Saturday, Jan. 19. One canned good erases a dollar in late fees, as long as the returned material is in good condition.
This is the second year the library has asked library patrons with overdue books to come out of the shadows and break that cycle of avoiding the library to avert the late fee -- only to have that late fee grow.
"I estimate anywhere from $4,000 to $6,000 was returned as part of the food drive," said Galindo, referring to last year's donation drive. He added that up to five tons of food were collected, making the drive a positive experience for the library, patrons, and those who benefit from the food donations.
"It helps us get our materials back. If people for whatever reason have outstanding materials they haven't brought back to the library, it encourages them to bring that material back. So, it doesn't have to be replaced and other people can check the material out as well."
If you'd like more information, call the library at 543-5468.