The City of Red Deer Parking Section has collaborated with the Red Deer Christmas Bureau in an innovative way to get donations for this seasonal charity.
The deadline is nearing for Toys for Tickets — an opportunity for people who have received parking tickets to donate a toy in lieu of paying for them.
The toys must be age appropriate, unwrapped, in the original packaging, and worth equal or greater than the amount owing on the parking ticket. Original receipts must be shown at City Hall to verify the worth of the gift.
Toys for Tickets was started in Red Deer in 2007 and has been running each year since. Fred Dieno, parking coordinator with the City of Red Deer, was made aware of this type of campaign through Kingston, Ont. and Boston, Mass.
Each city has a similar type program. He heard about these programs in 2006 and he presented it to the senior management team and council. He gained approval and the program started from there.
“We are looking for more gifts for the teenagers. Red Deer Christmas Bureau has identified that this is the group that is the hardest to collect for,” said Dieno.
Desired items for teenagers aged 13-16 include hockey sticks, fishing rods, sleeping bags, MP3 players, DVD players, CD players, games, puzzles, books and toiletries.
The Christmas Bureau is still looking for donations for all age groups and encourages people who are paying with toys to give generously with a variety of goodies for the children to unwrap on Christmas morning.
Last year 385 tickets were cancelled with a toy, this year the goal is to increase the number of people paying with toys. The number of tickets handed out will not increase or decrease, the goal is get more donations.
“I feel that this gives everyone the chance to pay it forward this time of year to help make sure that all the kids wake up with something they can unwrap Christmas morning.”
Toys for Tickets will run through Dec. 7. Toys can be donated on the first floor of City Hall. “We have really got the procedure down pat now in the past six years,” said Dieno. “You will be in and out in seconds.”
Next year the program will run through the month of November and the first few days of December.