This holiday season the Department of Safety is giving back to the campus and the broader community through the “Fines Forgiven… Feed Families” campaign.
Beginning December 7th, parking violators can waive their fines issued between November 1st and December 6th, by donating non-perishable food items to the Dispatch office. Ten items cover a $15 fine while 20 items waive a $35 fine. An individual can waive up to $100 worth of fines through donations.
Campus Safety Director, Cindy Burger, says the idea behind the campaign is based on a similar program implemented many years ago.
“The Department of Safety did a similar program about 15 years ago when we collected teddy bears to have a parking fine waived, and the program was very successful. The bears we collected were given to the local police departments around the area for use in their patrol cars to give to small children at vehicle accident scenes. When this idea was presented to me I thought, ‘It was successful before, why not give this a try; there are a lot of hungry people in our own community that could benefit from this.’”
She says Officers Mike Gwinn and Tommy Bennett within the Department of Safety brought the idea to her. It was Sound and Lighting Technician, Derek Mauldin that coined “Fines Forgiven… Feed Families,” as the distinct name of the campaign.
“They (Gwinn and Bennett) were doing some research and came across an article about another college trying this concept. They brought it to my attention, and it just took off from there,” Burger says.
Students like junior Anthony Kwe’shaun Johnson are appreciative of the Department of Safety’s goodwill this holiday season.
“It’s like ‘woah, I can get this taken away just by helping out someone else’ which is what the holiday season is about, what we can do for others. It’s less about self and more about giving and what we can do for others. That’s a good opportunity for people to pay their debts while helping somebody else who’s in need,” he says.
Besides benefitting needy families in the community, Burger says she hopes this campaign will allow students to see the Department of Safety in a more positive light.
“I’m hopeful that this will enable not only those in our community to have a nice meal during the holidays but also show our student body that the Department of Safety does truly care about our students and wants to work with them, not against them. So giving them the opportunity to have a fine or two waived while also being able to give back to our local community is a win/win for all involved.”
First-year Ryan Bert echoes this statement. “I think it’s cool. Instead of just having the parking ticket, I think it’s a good way to make it into a beneficial thing.”
Any individual is encouraged to donate, even those without fines. However, those wishing to waive their fines should bring their Messiah ID card along with their donation.
The donations will be accepted from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. on December 7th through December 11th. All items can be dropped off at the Dispatch Office in Eisenhower Campus Center behind the Receptionist Office.
Any additional questions about “Fines Forgiven… Feed Families” can be directed to Cindy Burger at firstname.lastname@example.org.