HANFORD, California (KGPE) – This year has been a bit rough on everyone and if you happen to be someone who received a parking citation in Hanford, the Hanford Police Department has a way to pay it and give back to the community for the holidays. Their first-ever “Food for Fines” drive accepts food to help pay for parking citations.
“It was actually the idea of our Chief of Police, Parker Sever. He was aware of several other agencies around the country that have tried similar projects and just viewed it as a way of doing something positive during the holiday season,” said Lt. Stephanie Huddleston of the Hanford Police Department.
Food items should be unopened, not expired, and worth at least 50% of the fine–which can range anywhere from $35 up to $200.
“I think it’s important that we find new ways to get people to donate and help out the community, I know a lot of people are struggling right now due to the current circumstances.”
The Hanford Police Department parking control officer who’s no stranger to being viewed as the “Grinch of Christmas” just wants people to be inspired to give back and hands out the incentive along with the ticket.
“My job is not to give tickets, my job is to move traffic. I’m just here doing my job, but also let’s give back to the community at the same time. So, it makes me feel good that I’m able to do something like this and participate with it, with giving back to our community,” said Janessa Alvarez, the Parking Control Officer of the Hanford Police Department.
Just in the past couple months, more than 300 citations were given out in Hanford.
“2020’s been a little rough on a lot of people. So, if we’re able to cut somebody a break with a parking ticket by letting them donate food or have that option, then I feel like I’m doing what’s best for my community.”
The Food for Fines drive goes through Dec. 31 and the goods will go to one or more local charities depending on how much is received.