Post Falls City Council Considers Ban On Street Fundraising
by Cristy Aranguiz, KHQ Local News Reporter - email
POST FALLS, ID- Several months ago Spokane banned panhandling at certain intersections throughout the city. Now, Post Falls may do the same. City Council is considering a ban that would eliminate fundraisers like "Fill the Boot," where off duty firefighters man street corners and solicit for donations.
One particular nonprofit organization that will be affected is the local chapter of Muscular Dystrophy Association, which works with North Idaho fire departments across the state to raise money. Jennifer Ross began the local fundraiser in 1992 after her husband was diagnosed with the illness. She said losing the fundraiser would be devastating to the chapter, and could have several ripple affects.
"It will be detrimental to the program. We have kids that come from four states to a summer camp once a year up in Rathdrum. It's the only camp in the whole northwest that is handicapped accessible for those children. The money raised from Fill the Boot is what provides for this children for that camp. It could go away," she told KHQ Local News.
City Councilors are considering that some motorists simply don't want anyone coming up to their car asking for money, even if it is for a good cause. Post Falls Police Chief Scot Haug told KHQ there are too many local nonprofits asking for permission to raise money on the streets, and it's hard to decide where to draw the line on who is allowed and who isn't.
He added soliciting vehicles could affect public safety. There are no reported injuries or deaths related to these fundraisers, but he said that doesn't mean they can't happen. Ross contrasted that, saying Fill the Boot always took public safety concerns with high importance.
"They're real safe about it. No one under 18 can go out there. As volunteers like myself, and even my daughter when she was a child, we would just empty the boots, sit in trailers, sort the money and count it for the firefighters. We would get them their lunch, their drinks. We were just their support system. The firefights were out on the road, which is probably the best people to be out there when it comes to safety," she said.
City Council will discuss the ban April 16 in a special public meeting at 5 pm.
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