Parking renews donation option for citations

Matt Donaldson

UK Parking is continuing its “Donations for Citations” program that allows parking citations to be paid by nonperishable canned food donations.

The program began Feb. 27 and runs through March 10. As of March 6, 64 participants had taken advantage of this program, which is open to all UK parking customers, including UK students and faculty.

Donated food items cannot be expired, damaged, opened or in a glass container and cannot require refrigeration. UK Parking worked with Big Blue Pantry to make a list of the most needed items.

Each participant is limited to one regular fine waiver of $25 that can be paid by donating ten nonperishable food items or five personal care items. Eligible citations exclude parking in a fire lane, parking in an ADA space without a permit, immobilization or impoundment, and improper application or use of a permit.

UK Parking officials said the inspiration for the program came from learning about similar charitable programs at a conference about five years ago. The formation of Big Blue Pantry gave UK Parking the opportunity to implement the program. 

The program began last year, with 337 participants and nearly 3,000 pounds of donations. UK Parking decided the program was popular enough to continue for a second year. 

“Going into our first year of the program we weren’t really sure what to expect or what the reaction would be on campus, but it made a huge difference at a time when food donations are historically low,” said UK Parking Communications Officer Chrissie Tune. 

“This program increased the traffic that Big Blue Pantry normally receives because people that may not have even known that it existed are hearing about it, so it’s really getting Big Blue Pantry’s name out there and helping more people,” Tune said. 

UK students seem to be excited to help the community while paying off fines.

“I have a couple fines that I’ve pretty much ignored for a while and I never really had any reason to pay them off, but when one of my friends told me about the donations program I thought it’d be easier and I was happy that it actually helps someone,” UK freshman Megan Finch said.