Hanover Park collects 1,600 cans of food in lieu of parking fines

The Hanover Park Police Department gave drivers a little incentive to donate canned goods to the local food pantry this year.

Drivers who got parking citations between Dec. 17 and 31 were given the opportunity to donate 10 canned food items to the Hanover Township Food Pantry in lieu of paying their $30 to $50 tickets.

Hanover Park Police Deputy Chief Andrew Johnson says 127 tickets were paid with the Food for Fines Program, and around 1,600 canned food items were donated.

"The response was tremendous," Johnson said. "People were coming in to drop off food and they hadn't even gotten tickets."

The minimum 10-item donation was set so that it would be worthwhile to the food pantry, and also to create an incentive for people who were issued tickets.

"Ten canned food items is still much cheaper than paying for a parking ticket," Johnson said.

Police estimate between $3,810 and $6,350 could have been made off the 127 citations that were instead paid with canned foods - depending on whether drivers paid them within the first 10 days.

Hanover Park Police Records Clerk Laura Roberts had the idea for Food for Fines, after she learned of a similar program in Lexington, Kentucky.

"We brought the idea forward, and village officials embraced the idea right away," Johnson said. "We're definitely going to do it again next year."

The department will deliver the canned goods to the food pantry Jan. 26.

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