- Associated Press - Thursday, September 7, 2017

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Providence has unveiled its first giving meter so people can donate to homeless causes without giving to panhandlers.

City officials gathered at Kennedy Plaza Thursday for the installation of the first “Donation Station.”

The retrofitted parking meter will collect donations to support local organizations providing housing and services to those in need. WPRI-TV says Democratic Mayor Jorge Elorza made the first donation. He gave $100.

Giving meters originated in Denver in 2007. Since then, cities from Pasadena, California, to Indianapolis have installed them.

The success of the meters varies by city.

Providence plans to install 10 meters. The city says they cost about $1,000 each.

Panhandling is legal, but has become a hot political issue as some business owners and lawmakers have proposed ideas to crack down on the practice.

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