A major Nova Scotia food bank will not receive food donated to some university libraries affiliated with the annual Food for Fines week.
Library staff and organizers at Cape Breton University and NSCAD University confirmed they will give the food to campus food banks instead of Feed Nova Scotia.
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It’s a worthy cause, whether it goes to Feed Nova Scotia or a local food bank, said Donna Bourne Tyne, a librarian at Mount St. Vincent University.
The annual program began several years ago at Dalhousie University, but other university and college libraries joined over the years.
All libraries choose a week when students can bring down their library fines with non-perishable food items. For every item brought in, students receive $2 off their fines for overdue books, up to a maximum of $20.
This food has gone to Feed Nova Scotia every other year, said its executive director, Dianne Swinemar.
“Say every community decided they were going to do their own community food drive and keep it in their community. There would be food banks with surpluses of food, and there would be food banks where people would literally starve,” she says.
This can happen in smaller communities with few businesses. It can happen among the universities as well if more successful food drives decide to keep donations for their own food bank, Swinemar said.
Cape Breton University librarian Debbie MacInnis said the decision isn’t about hurting the central food bank.
“We have a lot of students on campus that run out of food, especially this time of year … in the last couple of months of university, and their money is going down and they need the food,” MacInnis said.
She said the university still donates the money it collects to Feed Nova Scotia.