Many cultures around the world have observed the custom of making food offerings to the gods.

Modern folks in places as diverse as Central Virginia and Anchorage, Alaska, can make offerings to authorities reduce fines they might owe.

The Jefferson-Madison Regional Library is accepting food items to help pay down overdue book fines or late renewal fees.

Now through Nov. 16, patrons can get $1 off for bringing in non-perishable food, which in turn will be donated to the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank.

For details, go to the library’s website at and scroll down the main page; click through for a list of acceptable items.

Meanwhile, the University of Alaska Anchorage just finished a campaign in which it accepted peanut butter and jelly donations to reduce or cover the cost of unpaid parking tickets.

It’s an annual tradition, and the proceeds go to help students who don’t have enough food for themselves.

Two worthy causes — one of them right here in your backyard.

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