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Library and Harvesters Combat Winter Hunger

Published on Mon, 01/28/2019 - 10:14am
Harvesters Food Drive

Today marks the first day of Mid-Continent Public Library’s Winter Food Drive, which it’s launching in partnership with Harvesters—The Community Food Network. The food drive will run from now through February 26 at all MCPL branches, supporting the growing need among Harvesters’ 26-county service area. Donations of unexpired, nonperishable food items as well as household items like soap, deodorant, shampoo, and toilet paper can be dropped off at each of MCPL’s branches during regular hours.

“We know that hunger is something many people in our community struggle with every day, especially during the colder months when utility bills climb,” said Jim Staley, MCPL Community Relations and Planning Director. “As an institution dedicated to supporting our fellow community members, we felt that it was important for the Library to play a role in helping combat this serious issue.”

In fact, according to Harvesters, 63 percent of households served in their network have had to choose between paying for food or utilities, and 45 percent of those served by Harvesters’ network are seniors or children. As these families face the growing issue of food insecurity, they cope in a variety of ways including eating food past its expiration date. Others report buying the cheapest food available―regardless of its nutritional value―and some have even watered down food or drinks to make them last longer.

“We are so grateful to have partners like Mid-Continent Public Library who step up to fight hunger in our community,” said Valerie Nicholson-Watson, President and CEO of Harvesters—The Community Food Network. “They already do so much for us, but to add another food drive at this time of year is critical for the families and seniors we serve.”

MCPL is no stranger to the food drive process with its biannual Food for Fines program that it hosts in the spring and fall, which gives customers the chance to pay off Library fines and fees with food donations that are then given to local pantries, as well as the Kids Café program from Harvesters, which the Library hosts at many of its branches during the summer, providing free lunches to kids. Currently, the Library is hosting this Harvesters meal program at four of its branches during the school year and will continue to do so through May 24. The Library’s next round of Food for Fines will be held this spring.

-MCPL Marketing & Communications

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I love books. I love my MCPL. And I love the fact MCPL helps Harvesters several times a year by taking donations. And in lieu of $$ for fines, we can donate needed items. I spent a great deal of my Summer and other days out of school roaming whatever library happened to be closest to where we lived. I wish every kid could experience that joy. Books & Kindness and Caring for Others go together so well. Thanks for MCPL for all you do for your communities.

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