Today we had our first experience at the Giving Machines of the #LightTheWorld 2019 in Orem. It was an interesting and fun experience that we actually repeated twice.

We liked the option of choosing among different types of items for donations, including livestocks, like chickens, goats, or pigs.

We didn’t have young children with us, but it must be particularly exciting for children to see those “boxes” with the image of their donations fall to the bottom of the giving machine, after they pay, like in a normal vending machine.

Missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were around the giving machines to help people and take pictures, when requested. They were not stopping people to talk about religion, they were just there to help.

It is really a great idea and initiative. The only problem that I noticed is the need of periodically restock the boxes that represent the items that can be donated. Perhaps that problem could be addresses by using a touch screen instead of those boxes.

Video: Missionaries restocking

Giving Machines with touch screens would probably look more like Redbox, where people can choose movies. Perhaps, such a change could make the experience less enticing, especially for children, and it would probably cost more, but it would eliminate the need to periodically restock.

In any case, the experience is already great the way it is!

Where Are The Other Giving Machines?

In 2019 there are 10 locations for the Giving Machines:

  • 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)
  • New York City – (Manhattan New York Temple)
  • London – (Hyde Park Visitors’ Center).

‘Items’ in the machine range from $2 to $320, and include food, clothing, medicine, hygiene supplies, sporting equipment and livestock. Those items are supplied through partner charities such as UNICEF, Church World Service, WaterAid, Water For People and International Medical Corps.

This is the third year for the giving machines; in 2018, they raised more than $2.3 million for local and global charities. As of this afternoon they had raised more than $1.3 million in 2019.

These machines are the focus of the church’s #LightTheWorld social media campaign, “encouraging people to perform instant acts of service that make a difference in others’ lives.” The machines do not take any fees—all donations go directly to partner charities for the purchased item, or for items or services of greater need based on their discretion.


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