Donations For Citations


By Gary A. Means, CAPP

Some of our members may have heard of our Food for Fines program here in Lexington, KY, but for those who haven’t, I’ll give you a quick recap and hopefully encourage organizations to roll out a similar program in your community:

The Lexington & Fayette County Parking Authority recently announced that our Food for Fines canned food drive is returning for the holiday season. From November 21 through December 16, 2022, those with outstanding parking tickets have the option to donate canned food at the LEXPARK offices in exchange for reduced fees. For every 10 cans of food donated, folks will receive $15 off any LEXPARK or Lexington Police issued parking citation. People are encouraged to donate as many cans as they’d like. Donations, and therefore fee reductions, can be applied to multiple citations and to past due citations. All canned food donations will be donated to God’s Pantry Food Bank. Canned vegetables which are at least 14 ounces in size and protein items such as canned meat, beans, or peanut butter are suggested.

This 2022 season will be our ninth year running food for fines and we hope to surpass the milestone of 30 tons of food donated! LEXPARK isn’t the only parking and transportation organization to do something like this and we benefited from ideas like Food for Fines or Toys for Tickets from other organizations.

Interested in doing something like this in our community or campus? Here are a few tips to help you get started:

  1. Obviously, you must get buy-in and approval from your board, council, campus leaders, etc., so start planning early as this may take time – possibly more than a year. Don’t give up!
  2. Pick out a well-known charity to work with, one with a good reputation in your community or on your campus.
  3. Borrow policies and procedures from other entities who’ve paved the way.
  4. Don’t worry about the loss of revenue. The reality of the numbers of customers who will haul loads of donation items to your parking office will have less bottom-line impact than you think. The value of your good will in lost revenues will be far less than the value of the good PR you will receive.

I would love to hear who is already running a program like this and please reach out if you have any questions.

Gary A, Means, CAPP, is the Executive Director of the Lexington & Fayette County Parking Authority and Chair of  the IPMI Board of Directors. He can be reached at