Some colleges, like the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, are allowing students to donate non-perishable food items to cover fines and fees. The school just launched its “Food 4 Fines” program that lets college kids save a few bucks and do something good at the same time.
Students with unpaid parking tickets can get money knocked off their fine by bringing in boxes of pasta and jars of sauce: $5 off for three boxes of pasta; $5 off for two 24-ounce jars of sauce; $10 off for a 60-ounce jar of sauce and a box of pasta; and $4 off for every additional three boxes of pasta or two jars of sauce. All the food is donated to Family Kitchen, a nonprofit that provides meals for those in need, so it’s a win-win.
There was a similar Foods for Fines program at State University of New York at Oswego earlier this year and at Pace University in New York City, which collected canned and dry goods in exchange for overdue library book fees. The programs raise awareness of food insecurity, give students a way to owe less, and help the community too.