03 December 2019

Giving Machines

I am extremely fortunate to live in an area where Giving Machines are available. In this third year of the global Light the World charity program, ten machines are in key locations throughout the world, including downtown Denver, just a few blocks from where I work. The ribbon-cutting or unveiling was scheduled for a week ago today, but a huge snow storm pushed the opening to yesterday. However, the machines were in place and ready to receive donations last Wednesday, after we dug out from all the snow, and I deliberately took a detour to work so I could check out these amazing machines. Long lines formed on Friday after Thanksgiving. How cool is that?!?

It is my understanding the first machine was put in place during the Christmas season in Utah in 2017. One hundred percent of donations went directly to the charities being served. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints built and maintained the machine and provided volunteers to staff the locations and to answer questions. It was a pilot program. The Church hoped it would catch on, but no one really knew for sure what would happen. What could happen. What DID happen...

That first year, 23,000 people donated more than $500,000 to global and local charities such as Eye Care 4 Kids (which provided 2,000 eye exams for children, some of whom had never been seen by a doctor), CARE International (which provided personal hygiene products and 2,400 goats and 7,800 chickens to families in third world countries; the goats provide milk and cheese, and chickens provide protein, meat and eggs to the families), and Utah Food Bank (which provided 294,000 meals to indigent families throughout Utah).

Last year, five vending machines in more diverse locations (in addition to Utah were Arizona, New York, London and the Philippines) raised $2.3 million for charities such as CARE, Eye Care 4 Kids, WaterAid, Water for People and the Utah Refugee Connection. Do you see a pattern here??? People WANT to do good things. And this is a good thing, and it's GROWING!!!

This year, there are ten locations! Just imagine the good that will be done this year because people have the opportunity to make a difference in the world rather than buying things they don't really need. Global charities this year include CWS Global, UNICEF, WaterAid and Water for People, as well as local charities in each of the ten locations, which include last year's locations plus Hawaii, California, Nevada and Colorado.

Colorado charities being supported this year include Black Child Development Institute, Catholic Charities of Denver, Mile High Ministries and Rose Andom Center.

I've been anti-Black Friday almost from the beginning because to me, that's just not what Christmas is about at all. I've always favored gifts from the heart or handmade when giving or receiving during Christmas. Well, at least since I was too old to wish for an Easy Bake Oven or a Spirograph set.

To me, the Giving Machine opportunities make the world just sparkle. People really do want to make things better, and this is a great way to do it!

The Giving Machines are a variety of churches and charities working together to achieve magnificent goals. The Giving Machines erase lines drawn in the sand and celebrate what we all have in common. This is people helping people, and we are all people.

I love that Giving Machines are in Denver this year, but I can't even imagine what it will be like next year if, say, they have 20 locations. What if it grows even beyond that? What if more people get caught up in Lighting the World, and we actually Light the World and make it better not just for ourselves, but for people all over the world?

Isn't that the best Christmas gift any of us could give or receive?


  1. Yeah, Black Friday can take a hike indeed. Wow. That is actually a really good idea. I never even knew they existed. Never seen a one around here.

  2. Fingers crossed you might have one nearby next year, Pat!


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