People of Wheeling with an unpaid parking citation, this is your time to shine! The City of Wheeling has elected to re-launch the “Food for Fines” initiative, a month-long program that accepts 5 non-perishable food items as payment for a $10 parking citation.

Food for Fines was initially proposed and passed, six years ago by former councilman, Brian Wilson. Wilson was inspired when he heard about a similar program being launched in a municipality in Colorado. He pitched the idea not long after parking tickets had been raised to $10, and it was met with a positive reaction from the City.

“[Food for Fines] was introduced as a way to offer a little relief to folks while simultaneously giving back to organizations that are so crucial to our community; the food pantries, churches, and non-profits that have a tried and true system in place to make a difference to our most vulnerable population,” says Wilson. “I’m proud of our council and mayor for continuing the program and hope to see it continue for many years to come. It’s a small act of kindness from our city government that makes a big difference during the season of giving.”

The $10 parking citation must have been issued between December 1, 2022 – January 1, 2023. Those who qualify just bring their ticket and 5 non-perishable food items to the City finance department on Chapline Street, and their ticket will be considered paid.The non-perishable items will be donated to local food pantries, to be dispersed during the holiday/winter season.

“The holiday season turns our minds to giving and lending a hand to those less fortunate,” says Vice Mayor Chad Thalman. “By helping the food pantries again this year, they, in turn, can provide some support to individuals who may need some assistance. No one is happy about receiving a parking citation, but in this case, that parking ticket can be turned into something positive.”

Don’t let the lack of a parking violation hold you back from participating; community members who are responsible parkers are also encouraged to participate in the food drive. All they need to do is exactly what is outlined above, just without the parking ticket. The more participants, the merrier. 

According to Michele Rejoinis, Marketing & Communications Specialist for the City of Wheeling, “We’ve always had a great response from the community… it’s not uncommon for folks to donate more than the required five non-perishable food items in lieu of their $10 overtime parking violation fine.”

We love to hear it! Wheeling has multiple food pantries and organizations that provide hunger relief and other resources for community members (if you know of more that aren’t listed, go ahead and tag them in the comments below!). 

  1. The Salvation Army (Facebook / Website)
  2. Catholic Charities of WV (Facebook / Website)
  3. St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church (Facebook / Website)
  4. St. James Evangelical Lutheran Church (Facebook)
  5. The Soup Kitchen of Greater Wheeling (Facebook / Website)
  6. The House of the Carpenter (Facebook / Website)

Any food pantry interested in being on the receiving end of these donations just has to give the Finance Department a call at (304)234-6473.

• Haley Steed has lived in Wheeling for the past 9 years. Before moving to Wheeling, she lived in Columbus, OH where she graduated with a BA in Comparative Cultural Studies from Ohio State University. Haley also earned an MS in Marketing and Communications from Franklin University. She has held multiple marketing positions for 10+ years, with experience in PR/media relations, internal communications, marketing campaign strategy + execution, SEO, branding, content creation, digital analytics, and graphic design. Haley currently serves as an AmeriCorp member at Wheeling Heritage. Haley has one human named Vida, two cats named Hank and Squigs McAllister, and is currently manifesting that her one-day husband’s name will be Jeffrey Goldblum.

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