Parking tickets often add up to big revenue for many cities. Tampa alone expects to bring in $1.6 million this year.

But would you feel less frustrated if you knew some of that money was going to a good cause, like helping to feed hungry families?

Metropolitan Ministries in Tampa is always in need of food donations. "What we are able to bring in over the holidays ... one, we can serve over the holidays, but then also be able to provide during the busy times of year and over the summer." said James Dunbar, associate director of outreach for Metropolitan Ministries.

Tampa City Councilman Guido Maniscalco has a plan that could help them and other food pantries across the city. It's called food for fines, actually paying your parking tickets with a donation instead of cash.

Maniscalco explains, "Per each item, they would get a dollar credit and this would be for the holiday season as a pilot program to see how it worked."

At Metropolitan Ministries, that $20 to $30 parking ticket, would equal enough in donations to feed a family.

"In the end I think everybody wins, the city will still get some kind of revenue at a discount, but we're giving back to the community, we're feeding those in need and helping those that are hungry." said Maniscalco.

Chris Mercer has had to pay a parking ticket in the past. "Parking tickets are pretty excessive. I think we've come to a point where we should be giving back to food banks instead of paying more of the ridiculous fines, they can also help people!"

If the proposal gets the green light, the city would then have to choose where the donations would go.
Metropolitan Ministries hopes it make that list.

Tallahassee launched a similar program in November that lets first-time parking offenders get $1 of credit toward their fine for every food item donated. The cap is $50. The program brought in 297 pounds of food, enough for 250 meals.
Tampa officials will consider the proposal on Thursday. Most parking fines in Tampa run $25 or $30. Parking in a handicapped spot runs $251.