OKC Fire Department’s 'Fill The Boot' Campaign In Jeopardy After Anti-Panhandling Law

Thursday, May 19th 2016, 6:33 pm
By: Karl Torp

It's one of the most widely recognized fundraisers in the metro, but firefighters participating in the "Fill the boot" campaign for the Muscular Dystrophy Association will need a new strategy to collect the cash.

Last year, City Council passed an ordinance which eliminates panhandling in medians. Firefighters walking in between cars at red lights, asking for donations, is included in that law.

“It’s a huge loss for us,” said MDA Executive Director Kristen Richardson.

The MDA says Oklahoma City is the fundraiser's 5th highest earning market. Last year, OKC firefighters raised over $300,000.

Matching that this year seems unrealistic when you look other cities that have passed similar panhandling ordinances.

“We have seen a drop in 80% funds collected,” added Richardson.

“If it has a significant impact we may rethink that, but our expectation is we'll do very well,” said OKCFD Chief Keith Bryant.

The hope is that Oklahomans will make the extra effort to find firefighters if they aren’t in a street.

Instead, crews dressed in neon green shirts may set up at highly visible parking lots or the corners of intersections.

The “Fill the Boot” campaign officially runs from May 23 -28.