Friday, July 27, 2012

Western Massachusetts Libraries work to Banish Hunger

In The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, residents of Panem, a future country based in the ruins of North America, struggle to survive while working to support the glamour and riches of the capital. Each year, residents of the poverty-stricken districts are forced to choose two children between the ages of 12 and 18, to participate in the Hunger Games, a brutal contest where the participants fight to the death until there is only one survivor.

There are more than 30 million copies of The Hunger Games trilogy in print in the United States alone. A film adaptation of The Hunger Games, enjoyed enormous commercial success upon its release earlier this year and the DVD is set to be released on August 18th.

The Hunger Games was written for a young adult audience but is widely read by people of all ages. While the story quickly focuses on the Hunger Games, the beginning of the story focuses on the efforts residents of District 12 go through just to gather enough food to survive.

The Hunger Games is a fantasy novel, set in a dystopian society of the future, but hunger is real issue that people in Western Massachusetts face today. According to the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, one in eight people—at least 110,000 region-wide—struggles to put a meal on the table or has to choose between paying for utilities or buying food.

The success of The Hunger Games books and movie has created a community of readers who have enjoyed reading and discussing the stories. A group of libraries in Western Massachusetts has decided to invite that community to join in an effort to help banish hunger in Western Massachusetts.

The following libraries will be collecting donations of non-perishable food items to be donated to local food pantries. The collections will begin August 1st and continue through August 20th. Some of the libraries are planning incentives to encourage patrons to donate generously. Patrons who donate non-perishable food items at The Leverett Library will be entered into a drawing for a set of the books or a copy of the Official Movie Companion. The M.N. Spear Memorial Library will host a screening of the movie on Saturday, August 18th at 7pm and the Tilton Library in Deerfield will host a screening of the movie on August 20th. The Goodwin Memorial Library in Hadley will have a food-for-fines program.

A complete list of participating libraries and contact information follows:
Mary Anne Antonellis
M.N. Spear Memorial Library

Deb O'Brien
New Marlborough Library
Mill River

Janet Ryan
Jones Library
Jane Babcock
Goodwin Memorial Library

Linda Wentworth
Leverett Library

Diana Smith
New Salem Library

Jodi Levine
Pelham Library

Sara Woodbury
Tilton Library

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