A city program that transformed parking meters into brightly colored charitable donations sites has announced its collection totals from its first year of operation. Real Change Dayton launched last summer to help people struggling with homelessness and cut down on panhandling.
The program collected $1,454.15 in donations from both the parking meters-turned donation centers and the program's online giving portals, according to numbers provided by Valerie Beerbower with the Downtown Dayton Partnership, which helped create the program.
Organizers originally intended to divide the annual collections among several different community agencies that work to help Dayton’s homeless population.
But, Beerbower says members of the partner organizations decided this year’s donation total was too low to divvy up, and opted instead to award the full amount to just one of the participating agencies, St. Vincent De Paul. The group provides emergency shelter for up to 400 people each day.
Beerbower acknowledges public awareness of the parking meter program has been slow to build, but she said she’s still happy with the results so far.
“We don’t want to curb people’s generosity,” says Beerbower. “This is just us trying to channel that generosity into a more positive or productive outlet.”
Similar parking meter projects have launched in other cities nationwide, including Cincinnati. Cincinnati's program has raised about $575 in its first year of operation, officials say.