‘Giving’ Vending Machines Set Up For Second Year

Nov 28, 2018, 7:35 PM | Updated: 8:27 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Vending machines set up for the purpose of helping people donate to charities during the holiday season have been set up in downtown Salt Lake for the second year after the success of last year.

There’s quite a selection in the “giving machines” set up in the lobby of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, where customers can “buy” items, some of them very unique, to give to those in need during the Christmas season.

It’s part of a “Light the World” effort organized by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which has handled all of the administrative costs of the program, so 100 percent of the donations will all go to the charitable organizations.

The vending machine idea proved successful last year, allowing people to visualize their donation. More than $550,000 was raised.

“They always want to look for some concrete thing they can do to give and to connect to someone in need around the world and we feel blessed and we want to do something, but it sometimes is hard to know what to do,” said Sharon Eubank of the Relief Society General Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The charitable organizations on the receiving end this year could not be more thrilled.

“We see all the beautiful things of the holidays and we sometimes forget there are people struggling to stay on their feet and have some of their basic needs met,” said Amy Dott Harmer, with the Utah Refugee Connection.

Providing donations to the Utah Food Bank is also an option for donors.

“The need here in the State of Utah is a challenge, we have new jobs, new businesses, economic development is great, unemployment is low, but there is an audience left behind who don’t have those job skills and can’t get them help and we need to help those families,” said Ginette Bott, President and CEO of the Utah Food Bank.

Most of the donations go to benefit children, including a Utah based charity which provides eye exams and glasses for needy kids.

“There are 65,000 children here in the State of Utah who go without professional eye care annually, because their parents can’t afford it,” said Joseph Carbone, Founder of Eye Care for Utah Kids.

Not only do the machines benefit charities locally, but they also assist people around the world.  For instance, purchasing two chickens for a family will only provide food, but also income.  From the eggs produced by chickens, to milk from a goat, most of the gifts are life sustaining, including donations to help provide clean water.

There were a few items that will also put a smile on a child’s face.

“Like a soccer ball, that in refugee camp, that is going to make a difference, whether it is a soccer ball or a basketball, that makes a difference for that child,” Sister Eubank added.

In addition to a total of four machines now in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, giving machines are set up in New York City, London, the Philippines and Gilbert, Arizona and will be open through New Year’s Eve.

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‘Giving’ Vending Machines Set Up For Second Year