Light the World Giving Machines Launch in Utah
Light the World Giving Machines have returned to Utah for the 2022 Christmas season. Festivities were held at University Place in Orem, Utah — one of 28 locations around the world — on Tuesday, November 22, 2022, to unveil the bright red vending machines.
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“The holiday is a perfect time for us to recognize the true gift of Jesus Christ to the world and our lives and the gifts that we’re giving in commemoration of His birth,” said Elder Evan A. Schmutz, a General Authority Seventy and member of the Utah Area Presidency, who shared a Christmas message at the Orem event.
The unique machines, sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, give the public a fun and memorable opportunity to donate and serve local and international charities during the holidays.
“It just gives you a good feeling to be able to give to people. That’s why our Savior would want us to be used to help each other. And that’s what we want to do,” said Orem resident Ann Helms.
“I bought a warm blanket,” said Emma Ashcraft, 15, who was with her family to buy several items in one of the machines, including a backpack and meals for those in need.
“Even if it is just a blanket, it’s something that someone needs. So, giving the simplest thing is diapers and or a blanket or anything I think is very important to someone who may need it,” added donor Christy Rogers.
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The Tuesday evening gathering in Utah County was hosted by area Church leaders and featured music from the Truman Brothers, Utah-based Latter-day Saint recording artists. Local community and government leaders and representatives from the charities were in attendance to unwrap the machines. Launch events were also held at City Creek earlier in the day in downtown Salt Lake City.
“These giving machines give us a great opportunity to come and light the world, give a little, feel a lot, and be part of light in the where we can do this together,” said Jeanette Bennett, a board member of the United Way of Utah County.
Local food pantries and other nonprofit organizations have noticed a recent increase in demand for assistance.
“This year I can tell you over the last three months we’ve seen record numbers of people applying,” explained Brent Crane, executive director of the Food and Care Coalition of Provo. “It used to be that we’d have our regular clientele and maybe a handful of new applicants every day. Now we’re having several dozen new applicants apply every single day, everything from housing to mental health support to … food.”
“The Giving Machines are going to help us provide food year-round for the families that are in need of that food,” added Karen McCandless, chief executive officer of the Community Action Services and Food Bank in Provo.
“When you’re hungry, it’s hard to think, it’s hard to be happy, it’s hard to serve. And so, I hope that it feeds somewhere and makes them feel happy and loved,” said Bennett.
This year, nearly 125 local and global nonprofits have joined with the Church to serve millions of people in need. One hundred percent of the money collected is given to nonprofit organizations, including African Girls Hope, American Red Cross, Church World Service, iDE, Lifting Hands International, Mentors International, UNHCR, UNICEF, Water For People and World Food Program USA. Within each Giving Machine are items such as food, clean water, healthcare services, shelter, bedding, hygiene kits, job training, educational supplies, beehives and livestock.
Since 2017, Giving Machines have raised US$15 million for humanitarian organizations in local communities and across the world. The machines will operate to help those in need through January 1, 2023.
The Church invites people everywhere to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and follow His teaching to share our light with others. To learn more about the Light the World initiative, Giving Machines, or what you can do to light the world this Christmas season, please visit LighttheWorld.org.
The first of the 2022 Christmas season’s Light the World Giving Machines are now operating in Flagstaff, Gilbert and Glendale, Arizona; Honolulu, Hawaii; Kansas City, Missouri; Las Vegas, Nevada; Houston, Texas; Mexico City, Mexico; and Manila, Philippines. A Mobile Giving Machine will travel through five cities in the Southeastern United States, beginning with St. Augustine, Florida, this week.
To find a Giving Machine near you or donate online, visit LightTheWorld.org/give.