CONTACT: Julie Willmot
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-- The Mercer Street Friends Food Bank is better equipped to help the hungry, thanks to a recent donation of more than 325 pounds of canned and packaged food by the Mercer County Library System.

The Food Bank, one of four direct beneficiaries of the Library System’s year-round drive, links donated food to people in need. The Library System’s gift will help the agency channel food to charitable food providers, such as pantries, soup kitchens and shelters, throughout Mercer County.

“Our Library System serves our communities in numerous ways,” said Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes. “Hats off to our branches and their patrons for coming to the aid of some of our most needy residents.”

Michael Kerr, principal reference librarian at the West Windsor Branch, coordinates the food drive at the County System’s nine branches. He estimated that throughout 2011 the Library System collected 185 boxes of food items to distribute to HomeFront, Mercer Street Friends Food Bank, Rise (a community service partnership serving Hightstown and East Windsor) and the Robbinsville Food Pantry.

Library Director Ellen Brown thanked her staff for the food drive’s success and said it “signifies our changing role in the lives of the people we serve.”

“We have truly become the cornerstones of our communities in so many ways beyond traditional library services,” she said.