Mayor Ron Littlefield last week continued to promote the city’s campaign to encourage downtown workers and visitors to put their change in special parking meters rather than in the pockets of panhandlers.
Mr. Littlefield distributed posters to downtown merchants Friday, urging people to “plant the seeds of change” by donating money to one of 25 Art of Change meters around Chattanooga. The posters proclaim “Panhandling causes problems” and are designed to discourage people from giving money to those asking for donations.
Chattanooga is one of about a dozen U.S. cities that have put up downtown meters to collect donations to provide services to homeless and hungry people. Each of the meters in Chattanooga is colorfully painted and is averaging about $30 to $50 a month in donations, officials say. The money will be given to agencies that request money through the United Way.
“These programs help people in need, but giving to panhandlers only helps encourage the problem,” Mr. Littlefield said.