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There may be a way to escape library fines after all — and feed the poor while you’re at it.

This month, Penn Libraries sponsored the first-ever “Food for Fines” program, where library patrons were credited $1 toward their accounts for every non-perishable food item they donated.

As of yesterday — the last day of the drive — around 325 food items were collected at the Van Pelt Circulation Desk, according to Van Pelt Head of Access Services Andrea Loigman. She added that many people donated items and did not ask to have their fines reduced.

The food items will be given to Philabundance, the largest food bank and hunger relief organization in the Delaware Valley region.

Credits, which were capped at $20 per person, were absorbed by the library, Loigman said.

Wharton freshman Amelia Morabito, who works at Van Pelt, said “Food for Fines” is a good way to collect food donations and reduce student fines.

“The library doesn’t need money from fines,” she said. “It’s more of a discipline thing [for students].”

She added that during her shifts, she noticed that most donations were made by graduate students.

“They live off campus and have more canned food lying around,” she said. In addition, graduate students tend to have more library fines because they are working on their dissertations, she added.

Loigman had seen the “Food for Fines” model carried out at other libraries around the country. She thought it would be a good idea for Penn.

Although she would have wished for more donations, she is pleased with the participation, especially since it was the program’s first year.

“We hope to continue it and bring the rest of the Penn community in,” Loigman said.

College and Wharton junior Kenny Puk, a member of the Civic House Associates Coalition executive board, said, “It’s good to see other parts of campus participate in service opportunities like this.”

Most service opportunities on campus are operated through the Civic House, he added.

Puk, who attended the Nominations and Elections Committee’s State of the School on Tuesday, said the event’s invitation asked attendees to bring canned food items to donate to Philabundance. “It’s a sign that a large part of the University not engaged in service is making a concerted effort to do so,” he said.

This article was updated to reflect that State of the School was organized by the NEC, not by the Undergraduate Assembly.

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