OKC Firefighters Seek Online Donations After Anti-Panhandling Law
Each year at the end of spring, fire fighters can be seen dotting the corners of Oklahoma City intersections, not knocking down flames, but collecting dollar bills to help fight Muscular Dystrophy for their Fill the Boot fundraiser.
“We're still going to be out on the streets like we have in years past, at some of, many of the same intersections that you've seen us at before,” OKC Fire Department Chief Benny Fulkerson said. “The difference there is we're not able to step off of the curb,”
The reason is an ordinance passed by the City of Oklahoma City in 2016, which banned anyone from soliciting or panhandling from medians smaller than 30 feet wide and banned stepping into traffic to get money. Fulkerson estimated the department missed out on $117,000 last year because of the ordinance.
“Because we have partnered with [the Muscular Dystrophy Association], we wanted to still find ways to work with them and still be of assistance,” Fulkerson said.
So this year they'll be asking for donations both on the streets and online. They will be taking donations on a website and via text. Those hoping to donate can text donations with the code BOOT32 to 71777.
But for those looking for a more personal touch the department is asking for a little patience and understanding.
“If you see us out and about holding our boots we're still doing what we've always done, just be patient with us and understand if you're holding up some money in the second or third lanes, we won't be able to come out and grab that this year,” Fulkerson said.
The Fill the Boot campaign officially begins May 15 and ends May 20. Online donations are already being accepted.