By Danza Johnson/NEMS Daily Journal
MOOREVILLE – When you pull up to the four-way stop at the intersection of Highways 378 and 178 in Mooreville, you may be asked to reach for your wallet.
The busy intersection has become a popular spot for people soliciting monetary donations for all sorts of causes, a lot of them legitimate, but some possibly not. That’s why Richmond Volunteer Fire Chief Joe Banik says something has to be done about it.
“I have no problem with schools, civic groups, fire departments and other organizations that use the money for good causes to set up out there sometimes,” said Banik. “But it’s ridiculous. There is someone at that intersection every week holding a bucket taking up money and that hurts the organizations that really need it.”
Banik said his firefighters set up about twice a year to take donations for the small volunteer fire department. He said the best course of action would be for the Lee County Board of Supervisors to pass an ordinance requiring people or groups to have a permit to solicit donations at the intersection.
Lee County Sheriff Jim Johnson said he’s had countless complaints over the past few years about people asking for donations at the intersection.
“I’ve had so many complaints that I went to the board and asked for them to draw up an ordinance requiring permits to set up there,” said Johnson. “It’s gotten to the point where people hate going through there because they know someone will be there asking for money, and without an ordinance, my hands are tied as to what I can actually do to stop it.”
The intersection is in District 5 where Joe McKinney is the supervisor. McKinney said he has also received complaints about people taking up donations at the Mooreville intersection as well as others throughout the county. He said the board will address the issue, but he did not say what they planned to do.
Johnson said a solution needs to be found quickly.
“Right now it’s just a legal way to extort money from people,” he said. “People have to drive through there and they don’t know if the person holding the bucket and sign are telling the truth or not. We have to do something to protect people from being taken advantage of.”
Contact Danza Johnson at (662) 678-1583 or firstname.lastname@example.org.