Cincinnati trims parking fines for holiday food donations

Mon Dec 15, 2014 5:01pm EST
 
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By Steve Bittenbender

(Reuters) - A holiday special for people with outstanding parking tickets launched on Monday in Cincinnati, which is reducing fines in exchange for canned food donations to a local food bank.

For drivers with one or two overdue parking meter fines, a 10-can donation will reduce their total fine on one ticket - including the late fee - to $45 from $90.

City Treasurer John Walsh said people turned in more than 300 cans in the first few hours.

Cincinnati based its program on one started in Lexington, Kentucky, last month. In that time, more than 280 parking meter violators have donated about 3,000 cans of food, said Gary Means, the executive director of the Lexington Parking Authority. The city erases the entire fine, up to $30, for anyone who donates 10 cans.

Means, who expects to continue the food drive next year, said he's heard from people as far away as Texas and New Jersey interested in launching similar initiatives.

"People hate parking citations, but they like to be able to give food to the hungry," said Means.

The programs in both cities end on Friday.

(Reporting by Steve Bittenbender in Louisville, Kentucky; Editing by Fiona Ortiz and Eric Walsh)