The next time you “forget” to feed the parking meter when you are just running in to grab a coffee and get a ticket, you might have an unusual option to pay the fine. Beginning next month, the city of Stillwater, Minnesota, will allow its residents to bypass monetary fines by accepting a donation of non-perishable food items to Valley Outreach, a local human services organization that provides food, clothing, financial assistance and other crucial services to members of the community in need. In lieu of a typical $15 parking fine, drivers can simply drop off 10 food items at the town’s City Hall and have their records cleared.
The program is based on the success of a similar program dubbed “Food for Fines” in Lexington, Kentucky, and is believed to be the first of its kind in Minnesota. While 10 cans of Campbell’s Soup seems like a fair penalty for double parking, may we suggest a stiffer penalty—say, a Harry & David gourmet gift basket—for solo drivers in carpool lanes?