City of Newcastle’s Libraries are offering library members the opportunity to clear unpaid fines by donating non-perishable food and toiletry items in an annual initiative designed to support local families.
All items collected under Newcastle Libraries Christmas Giving Amnesty will be donated to local emergency relief organisations OzHarvest, Got Your Back Sista and Baptist Care, who will package up the goods for needy families in the lead-up to the festive season.
City of Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said she hoped the initiative encourages people to return to the library after this year’s pandemic as well as embrace the opportunity to help others.
“It’s the perfect chance to get fines reduced, do some good for the community and check out the library’s fantastic new resources and programs that cater for everyone in the family.
“The local emergency relief organisations Got Your Back Sista, OzHarvest and Baptist Care do an incredible job all year round supporting vulnerable people in our community.
“We’re proud to contribute to their good work at a time of year when many people are doing it tough.
“Even if people don’t have overdue fines, they can choose to donate to the cause as a way of paying it forward.”
Since the City started the scheme four years ago more than 8,000 items of food and toiletries have been donated and distributed to the three local charities. Each year, an average of $10,000 in fines is cleared, resulting in donations of 1400 food items and 1320 toiletry items for community distribution.
Members can donate non-perishable food or toiletries instead of paying their fines with each item donated equating to five dollars. For example, two donated items will clear a $10 fine.
There is no limit to the amount in fines or charges that can be paid off with donations. This year donations can also be used to pay for lost and damaged items that have been owed for five or more years. As a response to COVID-19 Newcastle remains fine free until 30 June 2021.
The Newcastle Libraries Christmas Giving Amnesty runs until Friday, 18 December 2020. Donations can be made at all Newcastle Library branches including the Digital Library at 12 Stewart Avenue, Newcastle West.