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Parking tickets net Christmas cheer

The second annual Toys for Tickets campaign wrapped up on Tuesday with a lot of toys in one local service group’s stocking.

The second annual Toys for Tickets campaign wrapped up on Tuesday with a lot of toys in one local service group’s stocking.

The program, run by the city’s municipal enforcement department, allowed people to pay for selected parking tickets with toys valued at $25 or more. The tickets were issued between Nov. 15 and 30, with results similar to last year’s inaugural effort.

“It’s very similar, almost identical,” said Terri Tereposky, the city’s photo radar co-ordinator. “It’s been our experience in both of these years that people that pay with a toy also pay with a smile. It’s not the same as paying cash. They know that they’re helping the community at the same time.”

Of the parking tickets issued during the program, 149 were paid with a toy, pretty much the same result as last year when 150 people participated. Some people paid with more than one toy as organizers collected 175 toys in total.

“That’s wonderful!” exclaimed Karen Mehok, a member of the St. Albert Kinettes and organizer of the annual Christmas hamper collection, where the toys will be donated. She said the current hamper campaign is going well and her team of volunteers will start to compile the hampers tomorrow.

What Tereposky did notice was that the value of the items is different.

“Last year we found that people were paying with more dollar values than this year. There are a lot of minimums this year. I think it’s just the times.”

Tereposky added that the city plans to continue the program in 2011 because it achieves a few goals like educating people about the Christmas hampers.

“We get to educate the public and address the concerns about specific parking issues, at the same time the violator is getting a break because, instead of the $40 or $60 ticket, they only have to pay $25, and the kids in the community … get a Christmas. It’s a win-win-win!”

It also helps people at the RCMP detachment get into the holiday spirit.

“The atmosphere at the detachment when all the toys come in, everyone gets excited. We feel like we’re making a difference. It’s some positive stuff in amongst all the negatives.”

The toys will be delivered to the Kinettes today during its Fill-A-Bus event. You can drop off a new, unwrapped toy or non-perishable food item between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. at the following locations: both Safeway locations, Sobeys, Superstore, Canadian Tire and both Save-On Foods stores. Just look for the city transit bus in the parking lot at each location.

You can learn more about the hampers and the Kinettes by calling Mehok at 780-418-3930 or visiting www.stalbertkinettes.ca.


Scott Hayes

About the Author: Scott Hayes

Scott Hayes joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2008. Scott writes about the arts, entertainment, movies, culture, community groups, and charities. He also writes general news, features, columns, and profiles on people.
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