Whether you live in a small town or a mega city like New York, if you're parking your car and don't pay close attention to the posted parking rules, you're liable to get stuck with a ticket. Collect enough of those bad boys and you could even earn yourself a boot.
While that ticket money goes to help pay the city's bills, there's nevertheless a sinking feeling that comes with having to fork over cash to The Man, who is probably going to spend it on wildly inefficient budgets anyway. This November, though, instead of having to pay cash for leaving your car in a metered area for too long, Tampa Bay is letting people pay their parking tickets with canned food that will be donated to those in need.
Under the program called "Food for Fines," a 14- to 15-ounce can of non perishable fruits, vegetables, proteins, or peanut butter would be good for one dollar off your ticket, according to the local Fox station. The station reports that the average price of a ticket is between $25 and $30 in Tampa, meaning a single ticket could result in 25 to 30 cans of food for the hungry. If enacted, the program would kick off in November and continue for two months through Thanksgiving and the holiday season, meaning it should feed off the holiday spirit.
Tallahassee enacted a program like the one proposed in Tampa in the past, and it led to 300 pounds of donated food. Another similar program in Lexington, Kentucky brought in 6,200 cans.
The Tampa City Council met this morning, and according to Fox reporter Kellie Cowan, they will continue to discuss the proposal until June 23 so that feasibility issues and details such as which charities would receive the food can be figured out. Some council members worry that the logistics could outweigh the benefits.
Hopefully, they'll find that the program will be beneficial for all involved, because it would be a lot more satisfying to hand over cans of green beans than a pile of greenbacks. The feeling of rage might even be a tad mellower when you see that piece of paper beneath the windshield wiper.