Photo courtesy of Alby Antoniazzi

The Downtown San Diego Partnership Friday launched its third annual “Make Change Count” holiday fundraising drive to support its efforts to end homelessness.

The organization set up 21 donation stations around downtown that look like red parking meters that people can stick coins into. The stations also accept credit cards.

Contributions can also be made by going to the “Make Change Count” page on the Classy.org website.

Kris Michell, president and CEO of the partnership, said there is “no more critical issue” in downtown than homelessness.

She said proceeds will go to partnership’s programs that provides short- term housing to help those struggling with addiction, assistance with security deposits and returning homeless individuals to their families.

“Instead of giving money to individuals on the streets, these donation stations allow those who want to help the homeless to contribute in a way that’s productive and effective,” Michell said.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer said the city has shifted the way it spends money on homeless services. The city no longer funds tents to house the homeless in the cold weather months, but supports year-round programs that provide social services, he said.

The mayor encouraged San Diegans to participate in the Make Change Count program.

“Every donation, no matter how small, counts,” Faulconer said.

Cox Communications will run public service announcements during the holidays to spread awareness of the program. The company also donated $1,000 to kickstart the fundraising effort.

—City News Service

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