Instead of satisfying cravings, unique giving vending machines across the country are being used to do some good this holiday season.
They’re called the “Giving Machines,” and these vending machines are filled with items for people in need and make donating to charity as easy as buying a snack. All you have to do is punch in the number for the item you want to donate and swipe your card. The rest is taken care of.
Sharon Eubank, President of Latter-day Saints Charities, says the idea for the machines was born three years ago and they were first only placed in a couple locations, including Salt Lake City and New York City.
Whether you have a few bucks to spare or are wanting to give back in a bigger way, the machines feature items of varying prices that you can choose from. Items range in price from $2 to $320 and include everything from food, clothing, medicine, hygiene supplies, sporting equipment and livestock.
All donations go to local and global charities.
“So, there are some global partners, which include UNICEF, WaterAid, Water for People and Church World Service. They have outlets all over the world,” said Eubank. “But in every location, there’s also local charities so that you can buy things that benefit people right in the community where you live.”
In 2018, the machines raised more than $2.3 million for local and global charities, according to Eubank. This year, she says there are 10 locations and the church’s goal is to raise $5 million. As of Dec. 12, she said they had raised $2.438 million.
“But the more important statistic to me is that there’ve been 101,000 individual transactions, so it isn’t so much that people donated a lot, but they donated a blanket or something small and 101,000 people decided, yeah I’ll do a ‘Giving Machine’ and so that to me is the greater statistic,” said Eubank.