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LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- New Albany officials are trying to put the brakes on how local charities raise money, which means some of those emergency dollars may be in jeopardy.
Alberta Miller came to the Salvation Army in New Albany with a $300 energy bill, $100 more owed for gas, and a shutoff notice looming this week. "Times is hard right now," she says. Miller says she works full-time caring for her ill husband: "He has Lou Gehrig's disease and he's dying."
As Maj. Stephen Kiger of the Salvation Army explains, "People come to us when they're in the need of food, shelter, clothing, and those types of things."
The New Albany City Council wants to ban fundraising groups from collecting donations on public streets. Those are the same dollars used to keep people like the Millers afloat. Kiger explains, "For us, five or six thousand dollars will evaporate that we can't just find somewhere else."
According to New Albany's Public Works Board, 18 fundraising groups did roadside collections last year, many using busy intersections such as State and Elm. Sometimes they make as much as $2,000 in a single day.
But Councilman Dan Coffey says, "It's gotten to the point that it's not safe for the drivers, it's not safe for the people." He believes charities should go back to more traditional types of fundraisers such as car washes and cookouts, saying, "People get involved more than just throwing money in a bucket. A lot of times they don't know what it's for."
But Kiger responds, "They (the city council) need to recognize that those organization are the ones that they rely on. When there's a fire, eviction, or families are put out on the street, it's not the city that takes care of those, it's groups like the Salvation Army and others."
Even as Miller received her energy assistance, she wondered what happens if there's a next time for her and her ailing husband: "It's a blessing. Without them, people like us on really fixed income couldn't make it."
The new ban on roadside donation collection passed a first reading in a 5-3 vote last night. The New Albany City Council set a final vote for February 21st.