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Library says: Skip the late fee, pay in peanut butter

By Laura Halm
Published On: Feb 23 2013 05:05:02 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 23 2013 01:57:53 PM CST

The Washington County Virginia Library System is doing its part to help the community and it starts with a jar of peanut butter.

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Va. -

Here's a statistic that may surprise you -- one in six people in southwest Virginia struggle to put dinner on the table according to Feeding America Southwest Virginia.

But now helping the hungry can be as simple as picking up a library book. News 5 learned the Washington County, Virginia Library System is doing its part to help the community and it starts with a jar of peanut butter.

Late fees at the library are something Brandon Snodgrass is all too familiar with, and the main culprit may be his six-year-old daughter Lauren. "They have a bag that they bring home that has probably 12 books. But I don't know how long they have them and I'm going to guess a lot of late fees are generated," he said.

But there's good news if you tend to be forgetful. "We're gathering peanut butter in placement of fines that patrons may have when they come into the library," said Todd Eastridge with Washington County, Virginia Library System.

That's right -- the library is collecting jars of peanut butter, but it's for a good cause. Every jar donated will stock the shelves of Feeding America Southwest Virginia and help with their children's programs.

News 5 wanted to know: why peanut butter? "It's kid-friendly, it's nutritious, and it's shelf-stable. It will keep for awhile," said Ed Roberts with the food bank.

We learned this time of year donations drop but the need stays the same. While donating peanut butter sounds simple, it actually has a greater impact. "For every dollar [of peanut butter] that comes in, we can turn it into $9 worth of food. So a jar of peanut butter that's donated helps us take and stretch that even further," added Roberts.

Back at the library, people say dropping off a donation is just as easy as picking up a book. "You're running errands anyway. We're going to the grocery store next, we'll pick up peanut butter," said Mary and Jared Tackett.

The food drive runs through March 1. If you would like to donate a jar of peanut butter, we've learned the main library, along with Glade Spring, Damascus, Mendota, and Hayters Gap branches, are all collecting them.

Any local food bank says they'll accept peanut butter and any other donations all year long.