Light the World Vending Machines Allow People to Give to Charity

Last year, the "Giving Machines" raised $2.3 million to support charities around the world

03.12.2019 | by Reve Fisher
Photo by Light the World
Photo by Light the World

Vending machines around the world are giving people a chance to give back—just in time for the Christmas season.

In 2017, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints launched its “Light The World” campaign to promote charitable behaviour with a twist. Placed throughout the Mormon capital of the world, the “Giving Machines” offered a chance for passersby in Salt Lake City, Utah, to help people around the world.

Instead of being filled with typical vending machines treats like candy and beverages, Giving Machines offer everyday essential items such as school supplies, vaccines, toys, meals, animals, clothing, doctor exams and more.

Prices range from two dollars to 320, giving everyone a chance to donate within their means. The Church covers all administrative costs to ensure 100 percent of each donation goes directly to charity.

“It’s a fun way to give,”  Philadelphia man Eric Newton, who donated two chickens with his wife at a machine in New York City, told NBC News last year. “It makes you realise, when you’re looking at the things to purchase, that there’s a lot of people out there who don’t have some of the basic essentials that we probably take for granted every day.”

Last year, the Giving Machines expanded to five cities worldwide, raising $2.3 million in the process. This year, ten cities will offer the charitable vending machines.

  • New York City, New York (Manhattan New York Temple)
  • London, England (Hyde Park Visitors’ Center)
  • Manila, Philippines (TriNoma Mall)
  • Las Vegas, Nevada (Downtown Summerlin)
  • Laie, Oahu, Hawaii (Polynesian Cultural Center)
  • Gilbert, Arizona (Water Tower Plaza)
  • Salt Lake City, Utah (Joseph Smith Memorial Building)
  • Orem, Utah (University Place Mall)
  • Denver, Colorado (Writer Square)
  • San Jose, California (Christmas in the Park)

Most of the giving machines were rolled out last month, with the final two in London and New York City revealed on 3 December for Giving Tuesday.

In the United States and United Kingdom, users must pay by credit card. At the machine in the Philippines, users can pay by cash or online bank transfer. The Church encourages those who do not live near a Giving Machine to donate to a local charity online.

“This unique way to give not only blesses the life of the giver, but also lifts the receiver in locations all around the world,” Elder Brent H. Nielson, a general authority seventy with the Church, said in an interview with Forbes, “Our hope is to offer opportunities to Light the World one by one.”

Both global charities and local organisations have partnered with the church to take part in the initiative, including UNICEF, WaterAid, Eyecare 4 Kids, Catholic Charities Community Services and more.

Like in previous years, the machines will be up until the first week of January.

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