The big red vending machines for charity are back for the holiday and giving seasons, and the program is bigger and better than ever before.

The Light the World Giving Machines have now raised $22 million from 1.5 million donors in six years, said Karl Cheney, the initiative’s manager in the Missionary Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Giving Machines will be placed in 61 cities in seven countries (see full list below) in November and December, more than double the 28 machines that raised about $6 million last year, Cheney said.

The unique machines will offer donors 1,200 different charitable items this year, from meals and clothing to livestock and beehives. The donations will go to a dozen global charities like African Girls Hope Foundation and UNICEF or to about 240 local nonprofit organizations.

“The Giving Machines help unite willing givers with worthy causes,” said Elder William K. Jackson, a General Authority Seventy who has lived all over the world and whose family also operates a foundation that provides sight restoration surgeries.

Each machine is tailored to its region. Donors can choose to give money to a local charity or to a global charity that might provide goats or piglets to a family or school tuition to an orphan.

Last year, donor funds provided 2.2 million meals and 517,000 vaccinations for children against polio, measles, tetanus and the flu.

The money raised also gave safe shelter to 3,400 people, school supplies to 28,000 children and shoes, socks, warm winter clothes and other clothing to 35,000 children and adults.

“We are never more like our Savior Jesus Christ than when we do something for others that they cannot do for themselves,” said Sister Amy A. Wright, first counselor in the Primary general presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The Giving Machines have become well known for offering livestock that charities distribute to families to help them feed themselves or start small businesses. Last year, givers purchased 41,000 chickens, 25,000 ducks and 3,800 beehives.

Mary Concepter Obiero, who works for an African charity, talks about the impact of the Light the World Giving Machines.
Mary Concepter Obiero, director of relief development and protection for Church World Service Africa, shares about the annual Light the World Giving Machine initiative of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Friday, Nov. 10, 2023. | Megan Nielsen, Deseret News

Chickens, goats, piglets and beehives provided through the Giving Machines have benefited 20,000 families in Kenya and Tanzania over three years, said Mary Obiero, director of relief and development protection for Church World Service Africa.

Obiero said giving the livestock to women has improved gender equity in the villages where CWSA works.

“What a joyful thing for little children,” Sister Wright said. “We’ve stood in line where you hear conversations with their families. ‘Mom, I want to buy a goat.’ Or, ‘why would they need a goat? What does this look like? And all of a sudden we’re connecting hearts across the world of children who are the same age, who have the same basic needs, whose parents have the same desires for these children to grow up healthy and happy and strong in a safe environment and community.

“We’re helping one another achieve those goals.”

Church leaders and charitable partners say the Giving Machines provide both short-term needs and long-lasting change.

For example, donors last year provided funding to protect 459 women and children from further domestic violence or child abuse.

And some 3,000 children and teens received scholarships in countries where there is no public school.

“We’re a group that’s giving girls tools to be self reliant, to fulfill their dreams and break that poverty cycle. Education is a huge way to do that,” said Valerie Lee, communications director for African Girls Hope Foundation.

Karl Cheney, a manager of the Light the World Giving Machine initiative, introduces Mary Concepter Obiero of Church World Service Africa.
Karl Cheney introduces Mary Concepter Obiero, director of relief development and protection for Church World Service Africa, at an announcement about the annual Light the World Giving Machine initiative of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Friday, Nov. 10, 2023. | Megan Nielsen, Deseret News

Donors can choose from six items to help the foundation through the Giving Machines, providing money toward tuition, a school uniform, a Chromebook, shoes, activities and mentoring for girls in Kenya and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The mentors help girls overcome the trauma and stress of being an orphan or refugee, Lee said.

“We’re so grateful for this partnership with the Church of Jesus Christ,” she said. “They’re acknowledging how important education is for girls, especially these girls that have suffered so much.”

Education is an example, Elder Jackson said, of donations that can help someone for a lifetime.

“Many of these options with the Giving Machines will make a long-term difference, not just a right-now difference,” he said. “The need is sometimes overwhelming when you’re actually standing in a village or downtown in a Third World market and seeing that people’s life depends on the selling the five or 10 items they’ve carefully positioned on a napkin or a blanket. It’s a rude awakening that we have a lot of need in our world.”

Elder William K. Jackson, General Authority Seventy for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaks about the church’s annual Light the World Giving Machine initiative at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Friday, Nov. 10, 2023. | Megan Nielsen, Deseret News

Elder Jackson said he is convinced that the majority of people in the world have big hearts and are ready and willing to help but don’t have a way to do it.

“The Giving Machines make it easy to make a difference, with whatever means they have,” he said. “It’s a glorious thing. It will give millions the opportunity to feel like they’ve done something and discover a way that they can make a difference somewhere this year.

Both he and Sister Wright invited everyone to find a machine and donate, or donate online.

“I’d like to extend an invitation to the world to come and see, come and feel and come and give,” Sister Wright said. “I promise what you give will come back tenfold.”

Sister Amy A. Wright, first counselor in the Primary general presidency for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaks about the church’s annual Light the World Giving Machine initiative at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Friday, Nov. 10, 2023. | Megan Nielsen, Deseret News

What items are in the Giving Machines?

More than 1,200 different items will be featured inside the Giving Machines, including basic items such as “meals, groceries, shelter, clothing, health care, education, bedding, hygiene kits, job and career training, crops, and livestock, such as chickens, goats, pigs, ducks, sheep and beehives.”

How does the Giving Machine work?

The Giving Machine is a way to give something tangible back this holiday season. All purchased items are donated to those in need across the world.

The Church of Jesus Christ covers all operational costs, so 100% of each donation goes directly to the charitable organization.

Can I donate to the Giving Machines online?

Those unable to visit a physical machine can participate at GivingMachine.org beginning Monday, November 13, 2023.

Where will Giving Machines be in 2023?

In Utah, Giving Machines can be found at City Creek Center in Salt Lake City and the University Place Mall in Orem, starting Nov. 20.

There will be Giving Machines in 43 cities across the United States and 18 cities in Australia, Canada, Guatemala, Mexico, New Zealand and the Philippines.

An interactive map of the locations can be found at GivingMachine.org.

Participating cities include:

  • Atlanta, Georgia.
  • Auckland, New Zealand.
  • Baltimore, Maryland (Columbia).
  • Boston, Massachusetts.
  • Brisbane, Australia.
  • Calgary, Canada.
  • Cebu City, Philippines.
  • Charlotte, North Carolina.
  • Chicago, Illinois.
  • Cincinnati, Ohio.
  • Dallas, Texas (McKinney).
  • Dana Point, California.
  • Denver, Colorado.
  • Des Moines, Iowa.
  • Flagstaff, Arizona.
  • Fort Worth, Texas — Downtown (Sundance Square) and Grapevine.
  • Gila Valley, Arizona (Safford).
  • Gilbert, Arizona.
  • Guatemala — Cobán, Guatemala City, and Quetzaltenango.
  • Hawaii (Oahu) — Honolulu (Pearlridge Center), Kaneohe (Windward Mall) and Laie (Polynesian Cultural Center).
  • Houston, Texas.
  • Huntington Beach, California.
  • Indianapolis, Indiana.
  • Kansas City, Missouri.
  • Knoxville, Tennessee.
  • Las Vegas, Nevada — Henderson (The District) and Summerlin (Downtown Summerlin).
  • Manila, Philippines.
  • Melbourne, Australia.
  • Mexico City (and surrounding cities) — Aragon, Mexico Cuernavaca, Mexico Pachuca, Mexico Puebla, Mexico Toluca, Mexico Tula, Mexico.
  • Modesto, California.
  • Nashville, Tennessee.
  • New York City, New York — Times Square and Church of Our Savior (59 Park Ave).
  • Omaha, Nebraska.
  • Orem, Utah (University Place).
  • Perth, Australia.
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • Phoenix, Arizona (Glendale).
  • Portland, Oregon.
  • Prescott, Arizona.
  • Richmond, Virginia.
  • Sacramento, California.
  • Salt Lake City, Utah (City Creek Center).
  • San Antonio, Texas.
  • Seattle, Washington.
  • Snowflake, Arizona.
  • St. Louis, Missouri.
  • Sydney, Australia.
  • Toronto, Canada.
  • Tucson, Arizona.
  • Washington, D.C. (Arlington).
Related
See how many Giving Machines donations have been made so far during ‘Light the World’ campaign