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Want to reduce your parking ticket fees? RFPD collects 'Food for Fines'

Investigator Jennifer Knutson helped bring a "Food for Fines" holiday food drive to the River Falls Police Department. Gretta Stark / RiverTown Multimedia

A box covered in red wrapping paper sprinkled with snowmen and candy canes is sitting in the River Falls Police Department lobby, waiting to be filled.

The police department is collecting non-perishable food items for the food shelf. And they're giving something back to those who donate.

From Dec. 3-20, the police department is offering $5 off any outstanding parking ticket, said Investigator Jennifer Knutson, who brought the program to the RFPD.

"I saw Menomonie Police Department runs a similar program," she said, "And I thought it would be a good idea to bring it to River Falls."

Knutson met with her supervisor and they presented the idea to Chief Gordon Young, who brought the idea to City Hall and received approval.

Knutson said everyone involved in setting up the new "Food for Fines" holiday food drive has been excited so far.

"It's a chance to try to get some unpaid parking tickets paid off, while doing a good deed for the community," she said.

Knutson said people will receive only $5 off each parking ticket, but that people can bring in multiple parking tickets, and receive $5 off each, with at least one canned good per ticket. Knutson said any outstanding ticket can be brought in. If there is a late fee, she said, $5 will be taken off the total of the ticket with the late fee.

Food items (and tickets) can be brought to the RFPD lobby, 125 E. Elm St., during regular business hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Knutson said it is important that people drop off food items during business hours, as that is when staff is on hand to give them a discount.

Of course, Knutson said, people don't need a parking ticket to participate in the food drive.

Anyone who wants to donate non-perishable food items can stop by the police department during regular business hours to donate.

Knutson is excited to see how much food the police department is able to collect during the drive.

"The best part of this to me would be just to collect the food," Knutson said.

She hopes people who use the food pantry might be able to have a better Christmas or holiday dinner.

Gretta Stark

Gretta Stark has been a reporter for the River Falls Journal since July of 2013. She previously worked as a reporter for the New Richmond News from June 2012 to July 2013. She holds a BA in Print and Electronic Media from Wartburg College.

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