Fine Foods

Tampa Bay may swap parking ticket fines for payment in canned goods

Tampa Bay, Florida, is already preparing for the holiday season. The city council is strongly considering allowing local residents to pay off part of their parking tickets with canned goods that will go to feed the needy around Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Under the program, which is called Food for Fines, one 14- or 15-ounce can of food is worth $1 off of a ticket, and violators can pay off up to $15 in cans. An average ticket in the area runs about $25 to $30, leaving people with only $10 to $15 to pay in cash.

The town of Lexington, Kentucky, ran a similar program, helping collect 6,200 cans. And closer by, an initiative in Tallahassee collected 300 pounds of food, according to Munchies. Birmingham also tried something similar in 2014.

Still, not everyone is entirely sold on the idea. Tampa Bay Councilwoman Lisa Montelione explains, "It's a well-Intentioned program. I love the idea, but we need to work out the details so that what it's costing the city to run the program isn't more than the value of the food that we're providing to the public."

Meanwhile, Joyce Endaya with Feeding Tampa Bay, an organization that may benefit from the donations, says, "We absolutely have the resources to pick up those food items in a timely manner and distribute out to local partner agencies."

The initiative will be decided upon on June 23.