It’s heartwarming that the simple act of parking can be transformed into a gesture of giving. Red parking meters in downtown San Diego take payments for parking, as well as donations for individuals and families in need. According to the article:
The Downtown San Diego Partnership launched its Make Change Count initiative, in which people can stick their spare change into the machines. The donation stations also accept credit cards.
Interim Mayor Todd Gloria said San Diegans can “donate with confidence” during the holiday season because the money will go straight to programs that benefit the homeless.
Money collected at the meters is used to provide transportation for homeless individuals who have a place to stay, but no funds to get there. It is also used to pay first and last months rent for homeless people who are trying to find housing.
The program’s leaders also state that the meters will hopefully discourage panhandling in the downtown area.
“So, we’re asking people to make change count, please don’t give money directly to individuals, and put your money here,” said Downtown San Diego Partnership President and CEO Kris Michell.
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The Make Change Count program is also designed to discourage panhandling.
Lt. Debra Farrar of the San Diego Police Department said well-intentioned people who give money directly to homeless people actually encourage “aggressive panhandling.”