In the season of giving, the Oakland University Police Department (OUPD) is feeling extra generous.
OUPD is taking part in the Children’s Hospital of Michigan’s Snowpile toy drive—their third year doing so. What sets this year apart is the new “Toys for Tickets” program.
“You can bring in a ticket and it will be voided if you bring in a toy that is valued above or at least $10,” said OUPD Administrative Lieutenant Nicole Thompson.
Before you go parking while armed with a Tickle Me Elmo, be aware that there is fine print to this get out of jail free card. Only one ticket per person can be forgiven, and late fees still need to be paid.
“The ticket has to be issued prior to Dec. 1, and this is going to run Dec. 1 through 10,” Thompson said.
Handicap parking violations are not able to be forgiven, and item receipts should be kept as item value is at the discretion of parking enforcement. However, all non-handicap violation tickets are open to be forgiven.
Students wishing to utilize “Toys for Tickets” must present the toy and the ticket at OUPD’s physical parking enforcement window between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. This is also where students seeking to donate can drop off items in a box outside of the dispatch window.
Students and faculty on campus that are unable to get over to OUPD can call or email Thompson to have a service aide come pick the item up.
“We want to take out any of the barriers that any students, faculty or staff would have,” Thompson said.
While a full list of items the Children’s Hospital wants can be found in the OUPD press release, there are items and materials that are not suitable for donation. These banned items include used toys, toys that depict violence, items containing rubber latex (only vinyl items are permitted), art supplies not made by Crayola or Rose Art, food items and anything bought from dollar stores.
Some non-toy items like gift cards, batteries, CDs and sandwich bags are allowed. Money can also be donated through the OUPD dispatch window.
“The reason that [The Children’s Hospital] donate these toys is so parents don’t have to worry about leaving their child’s bedside if they have a sick child to go out shopping,” Thompson said. “The parents get to go shopping right within the hospital. They go down and pick out the toys that they want and get them wrapped – and not even just for the children that are sick, but the siblings as well.”
Pre-business administration student Sanjay Antani sees “Toys for Tickets” as a way to help people all around.
“Since I don’t have an outstanding ticket, [‘Toys for Tickets’] doesn’t impact me directly,” Antani said. “But since people sometimes get tickets for small parking offenses, with no prior offences, it does provide people with a good chance to give to a good cause while also forgiving them for a small mistake.”