(Photo: Paul Roth/Flickr)
The city of Red Deer, Alberta has managed to accomplish a pretty impressive feat: wrangle a feel-good story out of parking tickets.
From November 1 until December 6, any motorist who receives a parking ticket in the city can donate a toy of equal or greater value instead of paying their ticket. The toys go to the Red Deer Christmas Bureau, which seeks to provide presents and full Christmas meals to families in the community.
“It’s all about giving back to the community,” Fred Dieno, the city's parking coordinator, said in a release about the Toys for Tickets program, now in its seventh year. As with most toy drives, the donations must be unwrapped and in their original packaging. Recommended toys include fishing rods, MP3 players and hockey sticks, although war toys and glue are discouraged.
Red Deer is not the only Canadian city to launch a Toys for Tickets campaign — St. Albert, Alberta hopped on board in 2009, and in the Vancouver area, the private parking operator Impark has run a similar campaign with the Salvation Army. But for a city of about 90,000, the results in Red Deer have been pretty impressive: they've collected over 3,300 toys over the life of the program.
It's the kind of story which makes you want to go and write a love letter to your hometown.
UPDATE: The City of Red Deer saw this story, and responded via their Twitter account with an example of just how great the Toys for Tickets campaign can be.
Via Edmonton Journal