Harvesting for the goods
[subtitle]City will waive your parking fees for canned goods in food drive [/subtitle]
By Janelle Floyd
Senior Outlook Writer
With the holiday season upon us, residents can now pay their parking tickets and give back to the community at the same time.
At the most recent meeting, Tallahassee City Commissioner Scott Maddox held out a canned good for the other City Commissioners and the audience to see.
Maddox proposed a plan, “Food for Fines”, which would allow first-time parking violators to pay their tickets by donating non-perishable food items to the non-profit organization, America’s Second Harvest of the Big Bend.
“Let’s allow people who have a parking ticket to pay that parking ticket in canned goods or food items to help the needy people in Tallahassee, and my thoughts are by doing that it’ll spark a little bit of giving in the holiday spirit.”
City Commissioners unanimously approved the plan, thus from Nov. 30 to Jan. 4, 2016, residents can now donate cans. However, to be eligible for the program residents have to receive a parking ticket after Nov. 30.
For those eligible, the Utility Customer Service counter at the Frenchtown Renaissance Center will be accepting the donations. Motorists can pay fines up to $50 and every non-perishable food item will credit for $1. Damaged, out-of-date or opened items will not be accepted.
Sitting in the audience, listening to every word was Jim Croteau, Interim CEO of Second Harvest. “[This program] really brings to the forefront the community spirit and indicates that the city really cares about our neighbors,” Croteau said after the Commission meeting.
The idea for the “Food for Fines” program originally came from Kentucky.
“A constituent emailed me and let me know about an article, where in Lexington, KY they were doing this program and I thought it made great sense,” Maddox explained. “I’d rather forego those dollars during the holiday season and allow people to spread goodwill and cheer.”
Last year in Lexington, the program ran from the middle of November to the middle of December and they raised more than 6,200 cans of food as payment for over 600 parking citations.
Maddox finished, “If you pay your ticket with food items for families in need, maybe you will be more giving in other ways as well.”
To find out more information on the program, visit Talgov.com.