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Repurposed Parking Meters Collect Donations for Homeless

The city of Montreal has turned its retired mechanical parking meters in to piggy banks or “ParcoDons”. These ParcoDons are designed to collect loose change in order to help the city’s homeless population. The meters were first installed in the downtown borough of Ville-Marie in 2007, and since its inception, the program has raised $23,000 for the cause.

And in an effort to raise more money, the program launched the 2010 ParcoDon campaign: “Walk of Celebrities” where 70 local celebrities and organizations gave 70 parking meters a much needed face-lift.

If you have lived or visited Montreal within the past three years, you might have seen the original, green ParcoDon meters… a little boring to say the least. So during a two-day workshop held on March 23 and 24 at Montreal’s Hotel W, the local celebs decorated their “adopted” meters with acrylic paint and created exclusive works of art.

Each ParcoDon was signed by the celebrity or organization and surrounded by a star creating a Montréal version of the famous “Hollywood Walk of Fame”. One of the celebrities included Quebec explorer and inspirational speaker Bernard Voyer (pictured above) with his ParcoDon meter decorated by a young artist, Marie-Noëlle Vanasse.

Serge Lareault, head of L’Itinéraire, a publication and support organization that benefits from the ParcoDon campaign, told The Montreal Gazette in May that “Montreal has approximately 30,000 homeless, 5,000 of them literally living and sleeping on the city’s streets.” He continued…

“We want the money collected to be used to help us hire psychologists, people who will be able to motivate (the homeless), jump-start the human engine of self-esteem to let these people pull themselves through.”

The organizers hope the revamped meters will raise $40,000 over the next three years.

Follow Cindy on Twitter @ethicalbiz.
Photo credit: Bernard Voyer website

Written by Cindy Hoots

With more than 10 years experience working for a major Fortune 500 company, Cindy specializes in socially and environmentally responsible business strategies. She has developed successful corporate communications and stakeholder engagement strategies on contentious sustainability issues and has worked with a number of NGOs and activist organizations on how to effectively partner with multinational companies. Cindy frequently writes about topics ranging from what is corporate social responsibility to sustainable supply chain and measuring a company's environmental impact. She believes business plays a vital role in the health of our communities and our planet.


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