New York City — Church World Service today celebrates the launch of the annual Light the World Giving Machines. The campaign encourages communities to visit vending machines around the United States and buy gifts that will support neighbors in communities globally. The launch, which coincides with Giving Tuesday, marks the beginning of a campaign that offers holiday shoppers the chance to purchase sustainable gifts that will help families overcome hunger, poverty and the impacts of the pandemic.
“The spirit of giving goes far beyond presents under the tree and stockings hung by the chimney for our loved ones—it extends to our global family. Giving Machines are how we take that spirit and extend it to the vulnerable around the world. Offering our support to those in need can often seem intangible, but through this effort you know how and what you’re providing in a very real and specific way,” said Rick Santos, President and CEO of Church World Service. “Whether it’s providing a family with the needs to start a crop of sweet potatoes in Kenya, pigs to a family trying to get on its feet in Southeast Asia, or a beehive to start a homegrown business in Paraguay, transforming your gift giving into an action that helps someone in need, while honoring your loved ones this season, reflects the real meaning of the season—and your values—in a powerful way.”
The Light the World Giving Machines campaign is now in its third year, following a pause in the campaign last year due to COVID-19 restrictions. In 2019 the effort raised over $6.2 million, one hundred percent of which went to go to charitable organizations.
Thirty gift options, including books, meals, personal care items, fresh food, clean water – even lambs and piglets – are represented by cards in bright red vending machines. Visitors pay by credit card or mobile pay, then make their choice – just as they would at a regular vending machine. The difference is that the money paid goes to the charity so they can deliver the item to the person in need. Prices start at $5.00 and top out at $250. This year, the machines are located in Las Vegas, Nevada; Nashville, Tennessee; Honolulu, Hawaii; Orem, Utah; Salt Lake City, Utah; Oakland, California; Gilbert, Arizona; Denver, Colorado; Kansas City, Missouri; and New York City, New York.
This year Church World Service, CARE, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, UNICEF and WaterAid are among the 40-plus local and global charitable partners that have teamed with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to light the world in 2021
For those who can’t make it to a Giving Machine location in person, but want to participate in the initiative, the CWS Best Gift program is a wonderful way to be part of the movement, making everything a little more meaningful this season.
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