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FIU accepts food pantry donations as library fee payment

Florida International University is offering its students a new way to pay for library late fees and fines, while simultaneously helping the campus community and those in need.

According to a university release, FIU Libraries is working with the FIU Student Food Pantry to enable students to pay down fines by providing food donations to the pantry. The Food for Fines program will be active from March 19-30, enabling students with library fines to bring in a donation for the Food Pantry in lieu of paying cash, with each food item counting as payment for one fine.

The program excludes inter-library loan fines and rental fees, as well as any replacement fees. However, the program does support one-time fee waivers for library-owned electronic devices up to a maximum $50 fine.

“Food for Fines demonstrates the library’s commitment to the FIU community by helping financially challenged students,” says Genevieve Diamond, head of Access Services at FIU Libraries. “Students can pay off overdue fees while helping their fellow students by donating non-perishable food items to the campus pantry, where it is then distributed to those in need.”

FIU maintains two food pantry locations, one at each of its Biscayne Bay and Modesto A. Maidique Campuses. FIU opened the first food pantry location in 2013, with the second opening a year later. The pantries were opened following the university recognizing an increase in the number of students who lacked consistent access to food — a common occurrence at colleges and universities across the country.

No proof of need is required at the university’s food pantries and students can access the service once per week for up to 10 pounds of food each visit. The Food Pantry is available to all currently enrolled students, whether they have ongoing need or short term needs stemming from financial emergencies, and students must present a valid student ID card.

Food pantry items being offered as part of the fee payment program must be labeled, non-perishable, and cannot be past the indicated freshness or expiration date.

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