In Lexington, KY, an innovative new program designed to eliminate food waste while also helping needy people during the holiday season, will allow people with outstanding parking citations to pay for their tickets using canned foods instead of cash. The local parking authority will allow canned foods to be used as credit from November 16th through December 18th.

For every ten cans of food, people will be able to receive $15 in credit against their parking citations. Only ten cans of food, or $15, will be permitted to be applied per traffic offense. People with multiple citations can donate ten cans of food for each individual citation.

The canned foods that are obtained will be donated to the God’s Pantry Food Bank network. The food pantry provides more than 121,000 meals to hungry families on a daily basis. The organization offers services in central and eastern Kentucky.

The CEO of God’s Pantry Marian Guinn said, “One expired parking meter ticket could mean two meals for hungry Fayette County families.”

This is not the first year that such a program has been conducted in Kentucky. Last year, the “Food for Fines” program in Lexington, KY obtained more than 6,200 cans of food for 600 parking meter citations. Starting this year, canned food will be allowed to be used for any parking citation that has been issued by the state’s parking authority or by the police, and not just for meter violations.

A similar “Food for Fines” program is also being run in Albany, NY. Additionally, the cities of Coralville, IA and Monmouth County, NJ have public libraries that allow overdue fines to be paid for in canned food.

So if you get a parking ticket in Kentucky, at least you know that you can contribute to a good cause. Of course, people with good parking records are also encouraged to donate. Every little bit helps!

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