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December 1st: #LightTheWorld by Giving

Happy December! It's time to kick-off the #LightTheWorld campaign. Each day through Christmas, a scriptural verse is featured and the challenge is to find some way to implement the counsel in our own lives. It's not meant to be overwhelming; participate however you can.

Today's verse, Matthew 10:8, sets the tone for the whole month: Freely ye have received, freely give. I love the feeling that comes with giving, especially when the gift is truly appreciated--something needed or wanted. 

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to drive to Salt Lake City, Utah, for the unveiling of some very unusual kiosks. Set in the lovely Joseph Smith Memorial Building on Temple Square, these vending machines allow visitors to donate to various charities. After inserting cash or credit card, the giver punches in the letter and number of one of the items displayed, and watches as the selected gift falls to the bottom of the machine. Unlike normal vending machines, there isn't a way for the purchaser to retrieve the item (with the exception of one machine that gives cards listing service ideas); instead, the items collect in a clear case, so it is easy to see how the contributions add up. 

Photo: Workers stock and clean red #LightTheWorld vending machines. Above the machines is the question: "This Christmas season, how will you #LightTheWorld?
Different vending machines benefit different charities. One, benefiting Care.org, is stocked with items ranging from pacifiers to goats. (To be honest, the goats aren't actually in the machines, but rather, cards that specify the purchase of a goat.) Another, benefiting the Utah Food Bank and Eye Care 4 Kids, offers beans, rice, and other food items, as well as eyeglasses and vouchers for eye exams. A third machine collects funds for Wateraid and Water for People. The final one accepts no money, but freely offers printed cards with ideas on how to serve in other ways. 

One hundred percent of the money received goes to the various charities. A tax receipt prints out for the giver. 

What do you think of this concept? Would you like to use vending machines like these? What are some of your favorite charities?

Comments

  1. I love this! Saw the video earlier about the service vending machines but I didn't know they were actually going to set them up!! This is exciting! LDS Charities has to be my favorite charity because I know that 100% goes to the people.

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    Replies
    1. LDS Charities is great! While not every charity has the resources to use 100% of donations on the needy, I do like to consider how the donations are used. The vending machines give 100% of what is received to the various charities listed. A quick search of those charities' websites showed me that the water charities use 79-80% of the funds received to directly benefit those they serve. The other charities use 89-95% in direct service.

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  2. Wow, I had no idea such kiosks existed. They are fascinating and will touch the lives of the recipients and those who donate.

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    Replies
    1. Currently, they are only in Salt Lake City, although one was in New York City for the filming of a video. In the future, they might be set up in other places as well.

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