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On Thursday, November 28th, a very different kind of vending machine was unveiled at the Water Tower Plaza in Gilbert. Instead of spending your cash to get things, you’re giving to others. Funded by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, this “Giving Machine” is one of five world-wide. The other four are located in England, Utah, New York, and the Philippines.

The way it works is simple, and similar to a regular vending machine. Yet instead of paying for chips or soda, you can choose to donate a variety of gifts to send to those in need. Options include school supplies, shoes, medicine, goats, chickens, and more. After inserting your money, and choosing which item you want to pay for, the machine shows you what charity the gift is going to and where. Four local charities (A New Leaf, Helen’s Hope Chest, St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance and United Food Bank) partnered with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to benefit from the donations, along with global charities including CARE, UNICEF, WaterAid, and Water for People.

The Giving Machine is part of the already mentioned church’s annual “Light the World” campaign, which encourages people to spend the 25 days leading up to Christmas doing good. Although “Light the World” and The Giving Machine are sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, both of them are open to all faiths and people, and in reality are a community effort. The goal for The Giving Machine is to raise at least, if not more than, $550 thousand. You can help in this effort and give to others this season, even with the simple act of using a vending machine. But hurry! The Giving Machine will be taken down on December 31st.


By: Becky Wood

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