Indiana Residents Pay Parking Tickets with Animal Shelter Donations
Donations quickly flowed into a local animal shelter in Muncie, Indiana, when residents were allowed to donate pet supplies in place of paying their parking ticket fines.
In just five days, the police department in Muncie, Indiana collected dozens of cat care supplies, like cat beds, kitty litter, and cat food. How? They offered to waive unpaid parking tickets in exchange for donations to the local animal shelter. The Muncie Police Department collected donations in exchange for paying parking tickets to give to the Muncie Animal Care & Services. The local shelter cares for more than 350 cats and kittens in need of a home. They are always in need of donations in order to provide for all the animals in the shelter.
Those donating in lieu of paying their parking fines needed to donate pet care items of equal or greater value to their fine to qualify. Many items were donated by drivers paying off fines, but the Police Department's efforts also inspired people without outstanding fines to donate items to the cause.
Muncie, Indiana, isn't the first city to accept donations as payment for parking tickets, although it is a new policy. Lexington, Kentucky, has been asking for pantry items to donate to local food shelter. Las Vegas has been collecting school supplies in exchange for waiving fines. Anchorage, Alaska, and Wheeling, West Virginia, recently started allowing drivers to pay their fines in pens and pencils to support local students.
The option of donating instead of paying parking fines is typically available for a restricted amount of time. Some cities are taking donations for a week, while others set aside a full month to opt into charitable giving. These programs helped to support local charities and make a positive change in the community.
College campuses across the country have also been participating in similar charitable efforts. The University of Texas at San Antonio started a campaign that allows students to exchange parking citation fees if they donated peanut butter (a shelf-stable protein source) for the community food bank. The University of Missouri in Columbia and the University of Colorado Boulder allow students to donate nonperishable items instead of paying parking citations.
This concept has been spreading like wildfire in the last month as more and more cities appear in the news. Through these programs, students, pets, for locals going through food insecurity have more options from the kindness of others in the community. Check your city's site for policies on paying parking tickets to see if you can participate, too.