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Cops rake in toys for tickets

St. Albert kids will get hundreds of free toys this winter thanks to traffic cops and local lawbreakers. St. Albert’s first-ever Toys-For-Tickets campaign wrapped up Monday night.
TOYS!
Ben Lemphers

St. Albert kids will get hundreds of free toys this winter thanks to traffic cops and local lawbreakers.

St. Albert’s first-ever Toys-For-Tickets campaign wrapped up Monday night. The campaign, similar to ones run in Red Deer and Boston, allowed any resident who got a parking ticket from Nov. 15 to 30 to pay their fine with a toy instead of cash.

The city now has $4,650 worth of toys to donate to the Kinettes’ Fill-A-Bus campaign, plus a few the RCMP threw on the pile for the heck of it, said Toys-For-Tickets campaign co-ordinator Terri Tereposky.

“I think it was a total success,” she said. Residents paid 152 of the roughly 270 parking tickets issued during the campaign using the toy option, with many giving far more than the $25 minimum required. “One lady brought in $139 of toys for one ticket.” (A parking ticket is usually $60.)

Most people weren’t happy they got a parking ticket, Tereposky said, but had no problem donating to a good cause. “Most people who paid with a toy did it with a smile.”

Organizers now have a small heap of bears, Barbies, Lego and other toys to stuff into the Fill-A-Bus this Dec. 12.

Staff will review the results of the campaign to see if they should run it again next year, said municipal enforcement officer Aaron Giesbrecht. So far, the feedback has been pretty positive.

“Any amount of toys being given to kids this time of year, given the recession, is probably good,” he said.

Barb Stevenson, one of the organizers of Fill-A-Bus, was ecstatic when told of the donation. “That’s awesome!” she said. “It means 200 families in St. Albert with children will have Christmas.”

Roughly 200 families in St. Albert need help making it through the holidays each year, Stevenson said. Many are forced to choose between food and gifts for their kids.

She thanked the RCMP and municipal enforcement for stepping up for this cause. “These parents don’t have to spend food money just to make sure Santa arrives.”


Kevin Ma

About the Author: Kevin Ma

Kevin Ma joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2006. He writes about Sturgeon County, education, the environment, agriculture, science and aboriginal affairs. He also contributes features, photographs and video.
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