People Waiting in Line at a Food Bank Were Given Parking Tickets and Now a Town Is Mad

Image:  tommaso79 (Shutterstock)
Image: tommaso79 (Shutterstock)

Just when you thought some parts of our society couldn’t get any lower, they go even lower. ABC’s Allentown, Pennsylvania affiliate ABC 6 reports that the town’s parking enforcement came out to ticket people waiting in line for food banks. It’s exactly as bad as it sounds.

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It all started April 22 when Pastor Alejandro Escamilla from the Fuente de Vida Church started handing out food to those in need. But apparently someone ignored the fact that the people waiting were in need and called to complain about the number of cars parked waiting on the street. Not long after, Allentown Parking Authority showed up and started hitting people waiting with parking tickets.


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What’s worse is that Pastor Escamilla says the parking enforcement wasn’t understanding of the situation, essentially shrugging off the pastor’s concerns.

“They go, ‘We are the law. You have to respect the law.’ And I mean, this is not the way to work with a community,” he said.

But residents say what parking enforcement did isn’t surprising. This is just how it normally operates. Another resident who owns a local restaurant says that parking enforcement consistently tickets his suppliers when they show up early for his deliveries. He hasn’t even been open for two years, and he says he’s paid thousands in ticket fees, which is hurting his business.

“I have paid almost $9,000. Nine-thousand dollars since I first opened in October 2021. If this keeps up, I’m in trouble,” he says.

Luckily, town officials heard the outcries from the community over the food bank ticketing. Allentown mayor Matt Tuerk called what happened the last straw and that parking enforcement needs to recognize that “the way they’ve acted, it has not been appropriate.”

In response, the head of Allentown’s parking enforcement waived the ticketing fees.

“We had no business issuing tickets to people waiting in a food line. It’s just not defensible. We’re not even going to try to defend it,” he says. Now the city and the parking enforcement say they will work together to reform parking rules that better balance the needs of the community and its businesses, and the needs of the parking enforcement.

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