If you visited the Joseph Smith Memorial Building during the holidays, you most likely saw the lines for the charity vending machines that were located in the lobby. As part of the “Light the World” holiday initiative of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, vending machines with a charitable twist were installed near Temple Square, and the results were inspiring! The Light the World vending machines looked like typical snack machines, but offered a different kind of fare: water filters, socks, emergency blankets, first aid kids and more. But these vending machines were different — you didn’t buy the items for yourself, but instead each “purchase” was actually a donation to a charitable organization. Each Light the World vending machine included items corresponding needs identified by five charitable organizations: CARE, Utah Food Bank, Eye Care 4 Kids, Water for People and WaterAid.
In total, these vending machines collected more than $500,000 in donations with 100% of the funds going directly to the charitable partner organizations. We were astounded to receive over $76,000 from the machine designated for us…the equivalent of over 294,000 meals for Utahns facing hunger! During the 25 days of the Christmas season, these five vending machines processed 27,830 transactions from donors. We are so grateful for everyone who chose to “Light the World” this holiday season, and also to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for inspiring so many people to give back to those in need!