By Joey McWilliams
BRYAN COUNTY – The Durant library is the place to be throughout the year and very much so during the holiday season.
The city library staff is perpetually looking for ways to sow into the community and another is available this week for those who may need assistance during this time.
Through Friday, people may sign up at the library to receive food from the Salvation Army for the holidays.
Library Director Robbee Tonubbee said this year the library is not only a place to drop off food, but also a place to be put into a position to receive it.
“We’ve been taking canned food donations and non-perishable food items to help out with the Salvation Army gift baskets,” Tonubbee said. “In previous years, they got some of the donations from the big local food drive out at Red River Ford, but I think those were going to other places this year because there is such a great need, so we were trying to help them fill in the gap.”
“They came and asked us about signing people up for the food baskets. That’s something that had been done at DHS previously. Brenda Simpson, who runs the program, is just a volunteer. I know her daughter Marcy, we went to school together, she came up and asked if the library would be willing to sign people up and we said, ‘Sure.’
The library is open Monday through Thursday until 8 p.m. and Friday and Saturday until 5 p.m., which Tonubbee said may be helpful for people who couldn’t get to a place to sign up during the day an opportunity to come later in the afternoon.
“It’s for anybody who lives in Bryan County who lives on a limited income, or could use the help,” Tonubbee said. “Seniors or a lot of the people who qualify would be people who get SNAP benefits and people who are living on a social security income, all they have to do is come up to the library and sign up. And we have the information.
“The pickup will be this Saturday at the Fairgrounds, the same time and same place they are picking up for Toys for Tots.”
Tonubbee said at first the library was just going to be a place for people to sign up to receive from the Salvation Army. But it looked like a chance for people to able to give as well.
“We always do a canned food drive sometime in November, and when Brenda told us they were going to need a lot of donations, we just decided to do our Food For Fines, which allows people to erase library fines with a can of food or a non-perishable food item. They get $2 (off their fines) per item. We usually give it to a local organization. And this is about as local as it can get.
“The Salvation Army usually has about 400 people and they are running under that this year. They have about 250 right now. So we’re doing sign-ups through lunch on Friday. All they have to do is come fill out the paperwork and pick it up on Saturday themselves.”
Donations of all kinds of canned goods and non-perishables are accepted, and especially Christmas dinner-type items like green beans, corn, stuffing, canned fruit and pumpkin pie filling.
All this can be dropped off at the library at 1515 W. Main St.