Goshen News, Goshen, IN

September 26, 2012

Putting a stop to ‘high-traffic’ fund raisers


— A good thing is coming to an end in Goshen and we are both worried about the impact and relieved that the practice will be over.

On Monday the three Goshen Board of Public Works and Safety members voted to end the practice of allowing charity organizations to raise funds by asking for donations at intersections. The prohibition will begin after the last event in October.

Mayor Allan Kauffman laid out his reasons for asking for the ban. Those reasons included an increasing number of such events; the safety factor of having pedestrians mix with automobile traffic; and the irritation such events cause some drivers, who simply want to get from point A to point B in an efficient and timely manner.

Of course people do grumble about being hit up for donations while stopped in traffic, but we don’t see that as a major concern. After all, the charities involved are made up of local residents who have not been aggressive and simply stand by in case someone wants to hand a dollar to them or drop some change in a collection container. The same thing happens each year during the Christmas season when volunteers man Salvation Army kettles at storefronts. Few people are concerned about that practice.

But we agree with the board members that intersection fundraisers are too frequent. We also see that they involve the same intersections, meaning people who live near the favorite spots are frequently asked for contributions. But our top concerns are traffic flow and safety. Goshen has grown into a sizeable Midwest community of about 32,000 people. And on Saturday mornings when these fundraisers are held, it seems like each resident is in a car going to the store. It would be best for traffic flow if there weren’t delays caused by fundraising events on such mornings.

The sad thing about the ending of this tradition is that a lot of good causes will be impacted financially. Asst. Chief. Jim Ramer pointed out at Monday’s meeting, the firefighters union makes an annual contribution to the Muscular Dystrophy Association that is well above $10,000.

We know that Goshen residents by nature are generous and will be willing to continue to help the firefighters raise money for the MDA and extend that generosity to all the other organizations that utilize intersection fundraisers. So, while there is legitimate concern about where the money will come from, we believe it will continue to come from Goshen residents, but just not while they are stopped at intersections.