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Light the World: Vending Machines that Give Back

by Catherine Kirch

If you find yourself near Lincoln Center this holiday season, you might stumble on a vending machine that is more than what it seems: instead of vending snacks, soda, or headphones, this “Giving Machine” invites passersby to make charitable donations that will have tangible results.

Items in the vending machine run between $5 and $200, and include shoes for schoolchildren, cold-weather clothing, polio vaccines, school supplies, and livestock like chickens and sheep. The machine dispenses postcards depicting the selected items following donations to remind supporters of the real impact their donation will have.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints unveiled the Giving Machine on “Giving Tuesday,” December 3rd. This machine, and nine others in cities around the world, will continue to be in operation throughout the holiday season. Because the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints covers the administrative costs of operating the Giving Machines, 100% of proceeds will go directly to charity.

To bring these machines into reality, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has partnered with both local and global charities. These charities include UNICEF USA, WaterAid, Church World Service, Art Start, Latter-day Saint Charities, and Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York.

Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, executive director of Catholic Charities New York, spoke at the kickoff event on Tuesday, discussing the importance of giving back during the holidays: “I believe that everybody should have a blanket on a cold night. I believe that no child should go to school without shoes. I believe that every baby should have a crib to sleep in. And I believe that when people go out, they should have a warm coat, and they should have boots.”

The Giving Machines are part of the #LightTheWorld campaign. #LightTheWorld is a campaign by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that seeks to foster a spirit of service during the holiday season—a movement that people of all faiths can get behind.

“I’m proud to partner with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints,” Monsignor Sullivan said on Tuesday, “so that we might give to our world warmth, love, solidarity, and community.”

The New York City Giving Machine can be found at the Manhattan New York Temple at West 65th and Columbus. For more information about #LightTheWorld and to find Giving Machines in other locations, please visit this website.

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