North Texas Daily

Library program collects cans for nonprofit

Library program collects cans for nonprofit

April 22
22:26 2013

Melissa Wylie / Senior Staff Writer

UNT Libraries began hosting the Food for Fines canned food drive  yesterday, where students can donate canned goods to help families in need, and in exchange receive a reduction in their library fines.

Students will receive a $1 deduction for every can donated, up to a maximum reduction of $20. Cans must be at least 12 ounces and in good condition.

All donations will go to Denton County Friends of the Family, a nonprofit organization helping families affected by domestic violence and sexual abuse.

Bethany Hardikar, library services desk supervisor and a library science graduate student, launched the first Food for Fines food drive in 2010 as a response to students frequently asking how to lessen their fines, she said.

“This was a great way for them to simultaneously reduce their fine amount, as well as help out their community,” Hardikar said. “It’s not like they were being absolved of their fines, but they were doing something that contributed to benefitting people who are actually in need.”

The drive takes place at the end of each semester and is continually a success, Hardikar said.

At the end of the fall 2012 semester, a total of 80 people participated and 691 cans were collected, she said.

“We’ve had a really positive response from the students,” Hardikar said. “Even folks who haven’t participated in the program have been receptive to the concept and the idea.”

Fines Manager Matthew Butler said the food pantry at DCFOF runs low during nonholiday times of the year, and that this drive helps to restock its supply.

“We would like for people to bring in cans that are not just old food that they have lying around, since it is for people that are actually relying on it,” Butler said.

Butler said there are many students with fines, but the average fee can be waived by bringing in 10 or fewer cans.

The drive is scheduled for when high traffic is expected in library during dead week and finals week, Butler said.

Students can bring donations to the Willis Library services desk through May 10.

Hardikar said she plans to continue helping DCFOF by hosting food drives every semester.

“They’re a phenomenal organization,” Hardikar said. “I’m really glad that we can help out people that are not necessarily from the city, but from the surrounding community as well.”

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