"Drive for Dollars" donations down, organizers blame new ordinance

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by KREM.com & Othello Richards

NWCN.com

Posted on November 14, 2012 at 8:13 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 13 at 9:26 AM

SPOKANE -- Organizers of a fundraiser that benefits 2nd Harvest Food bank believe the City of Spokane's new panhandling ordinance hurt donations.

The fourth year of Second Harvest’s “Drive for Dollars” fundraiser wrapped up Wednesday night. Volunteers said donations appeared to be way down.

In past years, the one-day fundraiser has collected as much as $12,000. Volunteers said they used to collect a lot of change from people driving by and handing money out their car windows.

A few months ago, the City passed a panhandling ordinance that makes it illegal for anyone to physically reach out into the street for money, or to get in the way of traffic. The new law affects a large section of downtown Spokane.

Now, “Drive for Dollars” volunteers rely on people walking by, or drivers who pull over or park to give them money.

“When you are in a hurry or you are on your way to work, you are not going to want to do that,” said Jillian Robison, volunteer.

Organizers are deciding whether to hold the event somewhere else next year.

Spokane City officials said the City Council did not make accommodations in the new law for charitable events, so there is not any legal way for the City to make an exception.

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