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St. Louis City and County libraries offering free summer meals to children under the age of 18

ST. LOUIS – You might expect to find rows and rows and rows of books at your local library.

But a free meal?

“So, we partner with Operation Food Search in the summer to offer free summer lunches for kids under 18,” says Kristin Sorth, St. Louis County Public Library Director.  “Friday is Pizza Friday and that's sponsored by our Foundation.  We're trying to bridge that gap between periods in the summer when they don't have school lunch to rely on.”

At nine St. Louis County Library locations this summer, they're serving up free meals to anyone under the age of 18 Monday through Friday.

And at six St. Louis City Library locations they`re doing the same thing.

This is the fifth year for the free lunch program at St. Louis County Public libraries like this Florissant Valley location.

Partnering with Operation Food Search they`re trying to feed minds and fill bellies.

“We served about 15,000 meals last summer and 10,000 this summer so we're on track to beat last year,” says Sorth.

Thursdays are Operation Backpack Days where families can take home meals for the weekend.

Earlier this summer the County Library began a musical instrument lending program.

These are just a few of the ways that local libraries are trying to get people through the doors.

In Downtown St. Louis at the Central Library, they also have a food-related program.

“We are offering Food for Fines,” says Jen Hatton, Manager Public Relations St. Louis Public Library.  “What it means is the whole month of July if you bring in a canned good or non-perishable item, we will take one dollar, for every item, off of your fines.  So, if you have fifteen dollars in fines, bring in 15 canned goods and we'll do away with those fines.”

So, you can pay your overdue book fine, and give some food to a good cause.

“We like to say that your St. Louis Public Library card is the smartest card in your wallet because it is so many different things to so many different people.”