A lack of community support could put the brakes on the longtime Tipsy Tax program, which provides free taxi rides home to New Year's Eve revelers, organizers said.
"If there continues to be the lack of donations, we won't be able to continue the program," said Brandi Munoz, a DCCCA Inc. prevention specialist, who has planned the program the last several years.
Last year, 766 Lawrence residents took advantage of the program, which has been operating for 25 years and is designed to keep drunken drivers off Lawrence streets. Organizers said the program has been providing a larger number of rides each year, with only 425 passengers using the service four years ago.
DCCCA has typically reached out to area bars and restaurants to help pick up the tab, which is generally around $2,000, but this year not many businesses are contributing, Munoz said.
The education, prevention and treatment organization usually picks up the slack in donations, forking over $1,469 last year.
But Jen Brinkerhoff, director of DCCCA's Regional Prevention Center of East Central Kansas, said "major" state budget cuts haven't left as much wiggle room this year.
"We can't keep supporting it at such high amounts," said Brinkerhoff.
Rick Younger, of Rick’s Place, 846 Ill., said his bar has contributed for many years to the cause.
"I felt a little badly when I read the letter and the request," Younger said, adding that there used to be between 50 and 70 donors each year. The letter said there were only 11 business donors last year.
"Everyone's broke and no one has money, but I figure if you keep one kid from getting run over (it's a) better holiday," said Younger.
Organizers said donations can be mailed to Tipsy Taxi 2010, c/o DCCCA Inc., 3312 Clinton Parkway, 66047.