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Food for Thought: Leveraging Library Services to Address Food Insecurity

Creative Commons 'BY-NC' version 4.0 license

In June 2018, the University of California (UC), San Diego Library held an inaugural Food for Fine$ drive, collecting non-perishable food items benefiting the year-round campus food pantry in exchange for fine forgiveness. The drive has continued twice annually, in December and June, intentionally timed to coincide with students moving out of their dorms and residences at the end of the school year. Steadily gaining popularity among the student community, each instance evolves in response to observations and feedback.Complementing the Library’s myriad de-stress and wellness activities, this campaign supports students’ basic needs and raises awareness about often hidden food scarcity issues on campus. Providing an incentive for library users to give back to fellow students sets an example for collaboration and generosity, and encourages students to consider alternatives to food waste, both in the immediate and long terms.

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