Fayette County

LexPark will accept cans of food during holidays in lieu of cash for parking tickets

Charles Bertram | 2009 Staff file photo

Got a parking ticket?

Pay it off with food.

The Lexington Parking Authority will be accepting cans of food instead of cash for parking citations in coming weeks.

Those who donate 10 canned food items will receive a $15 credit on any parking citations issued by either LexPark or the Lexington Police Department from Nov. 16 through Dec. 18. Customers with multiple citations may bring in 10 cans per citation to receive the discount. For example, for a $30 ticket, customers can bring in 20 canned food items instead of paying $30 cash. Most meter citations are $15.

Past-due parking citations will also be eligible for the program that's now in its second year.

Last year's "Food for Fines" initiative was so successful the parking authority decided to expand the program, parking officials said Thursday. Last year, the program was limited to LexPark citations for expired parking meters. This year any parking citation issued by either LexPark or the police department will be eligible for the "Food for Fines" program.

Last year, the initiative garnered national attention and was mentioned in The Washington Post, USA Today and on MSNBC.

"Last year, citizens brought in over 6,200 cans of food as payment for over 600 meter citations," said Gary Means, LexPark executive director. "We hope by opening the program up to all types of citations, we'll see the numbers increase."

The parking authority suggests large cans — 14-15 ounces — of fruits, vegetables, proteins and peanut butter. No out-of-date, damaged or open canned goods will be accepted.

God's Pantry will use the food to stock shelves at its four Lexington locations.

"During this time of year when lots of Lexingtonians are looking to give back to their community, it's wonderful to see organizations like LexPark engage with our food bank in creative ways to fight hunger and deliver hope," said Marian Guinn, CEO of God's Pantry Food Bank. "One expired parking meter ticket could mean two meals for hungry Fayette County families."

Cans should be brought to the LexPark office at 122 North Broadway. The office is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.