Traffic fines translate into food in Vernon

Vernon council has endorsed Food for Fines from Dec. 4 to 10

Coun. Scott Anderson hopes local agencies will benefit from Food for Fines from Dec. 4 to 10.

Coun. Scott Anderson hopes local agencies will benefit from Food for Fines from Dec. 4 to 10.

A parking fine can translate into food on the plate for those in need.

Vernon council has endorsed Food for Fines, which will see residents with a traffic fine donate that money to a non-profit agency that provides food assistance from Dec. 4 to 10.

“It’s building community and it gives people the ability to direct fines to charity of their choice,” said Coun. Scott Anderson, who put the concept before council.

Initial parking ticket charges are $10 and they increase to higher levels at 14 days ($25) and 28 days ($35).

The program would only accept money as collecting food items at city hall would require additional resources and space.

“In addition, the Upper Room Mission and the Salvation Army food bank would rather receive money, to spend on food items as they see fit, in order to best serve their clientele,” states a staff report.

Another agency that provides food is the Canadian Mental Health Association.

It’s not known how much money may circulate during Food for Fines, but between Oct. 2 and 8, the city received $4,130 in fine payments.

Anderson isn’t concerned that the city will take a revenue hit by diverting the funds for one week to charity.

“It will come out of a contingency fund so it won’t impact the budget,” he said referring to council’s discretionary grant.

It hasn’t been determined which agencies will benefit from Food for Fines.