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The red meters scattered throughout downtown San Diego that collect donations for the homeless have raised nearly $10,000 since the first of nearly two dozen stations was installed four years ago.

While the total is far from enough money to help the city end its fight against homelessness, the nonprofit organization that operates the donation program says the meters are about more than generating money for homeless services.

“They were never meant to be a huge money-raiser,” said Kelly Knight, the homeless outreach coordinator for the Downtown San Diego Partnership’s Clean & Safe program. “They were meant to be an awareness and an education tool.”

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