Drivers in Las Vegas who fall foul of the city’s parking regulations can use food to settle their fine, part of a city initiative aimed at generating supplies for people without enough to eat.

For one month, the city council penalties for double-parking, blocking alleys or cycle lanes and many other non-public safety offences, come with an additional payment option. Offenders can hand over non-perishable food items equal to, or exceeding, the value of the parking fine.

Food payments must be made within 30 days of the parking citation issued, allowing sufficient time for the proceeds to be distributed before the holiday period.

The donations will go to Helping Hands of Vegas Valley, a non-profit organization helping low-income and disabled older residents manage poverty, hunger and loneliness.

This is not the first time Las Vegas has offered motorists an unusual way to pay their parking fines - the council has been running similar schemes since 2016. For a period this past summer, parking fines could be paid with school supplies.

Banking on it

Las Vegas sits in the state of Nevada, where around 8.5% of people aged over 65 live below the poverty line.

For many adults food insecurity is a growing problem, leaving thousands of American people dependent on donations, charity feeding centres and food banks.

More than 1.8 million US households live with low food security.
Image: Statista

Around the world, 9.6 million people use food banks, according to the Global Foodbanking Network.

More than 9.6 million people use food banks around the world.
Image: The Global Foodbanking Network

Hunger is often a problem of logistics as opposed to a shortage of food. Food banks take waste or surplus food donated by organizations, businesses and individuals, distributing it to the people most in need.

In the UK, a growing number of people depend on food banks to get by. The Trussell Trust reports that visitor numbers to Britain’s food banks have increased by a fifth over the last year.

A record number of emergency food parcels were given out in the UK last year.
Image: Statista