News Release

Share Your Light at Giving Machines in Canada

During the 2023 holiday season, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is sponsoring giving-focused vending machines in 61 locations around the world.

Canada’s first Light the World Giving Machine launched in Calgary in 2022, where local donations helped more than 23,000 individuals. This year, Toronto joins the growing number of cities worldwide that will be offering this simple, meaningful, new way to give.

Cindy Ngo, Fund Development and Community Engagement manager at the Calgary Drop-In Centre, knows the impact of Giving Machines. “Last year, thanks to the community response, we built a mountain of new underwear, frostbite kits, new winter boots and more!” she said. “To see that mountain of essential needs handed out to the people accessing our services was truly heartwarming. We can’t wait to see the impact of this year’s initiative. Even the smallest act of giving — a meal, warm winter boots, or a helping hand — holds the power to light someone’s world.”

Ronald McDonald House Charities Toronto (RMHCT) is one of the charities benefiting from the Toronto Giving Machines. Jillian Lynch, Development co-ordinator at RMHCT, said, “[RMHCT] is thrilled to be part of the charitable Giving Machine project. The funds raised will support families who truly need our support. When a child falls seriously ill, families face an abrupt and challenging journey, marked by uncertainty and fear. For 65 per cent of Canadians living outside of urban centers without children’s hospitals, the road to medical treatment often means leaving behind home, jobs and community, resulting in emotional and financial strain. RMHCT provides a haven for these families, offering a [Ronald McDonald] House for 81 families in downtown Toronto and seven Family Rooms in GTA and Sudbury hospitals. We serve families from Ontario, across Canada and worldwide, ensuring they stay close to their child in the hospital during these difficult times.”

What Are Giving Machines?

Giving Machines are big red vending machines placed in local malls and plazas that — instead of selling candy bars or pop — contain cards listing items needed by local and international charities. Rather than buying something for yourself, you purchase something for someone in need.

You can donate locally to provide warm clothing, meals, children’s essentials, hygiene kits or frostbite kits, or internationally to provide water kits, goats, chickens or more. You simply select the item you wish to donate; pay via credit card, debit card or mobile payment; and the item is sent to the chosen charity. (You receive a receipt for your donation, and tax receipts are also available.)

Gift cards can also be purchased from the machines. The gift card informs a friend or relative that a donation to one of the partnering charities has been made in their name.

Each Giving Machine offers over 30 items, ranging in price from $5 to $200. The goods and services in each machine were requested by carefully screened and reputable local and international non-profits.

As a service to the community, the Church covers all program operational expenses — including credit card, debit card and pay-by-phone fees associated with the machines (unless the donor opts to do so) — so that 100 per cent of the funds donated go directly to the chosen charity. This ensures that participating non-profits receive 100 per cent of the collected funds. Participating non-profits can use up to 10 per cent of Giving Machine donations for overhead expenses, and each is required to submit a detailed report on how funds were used.

How Do Giving Machine Donations Help “Light the World”?

In 2022, donations to Giving Machines worldwide provided 2.2 million meals; 31 million water purification tablets (enough to purify 3.9 million gallons of water); vaccinations for 517,000 children; 41,000 chickens; school supplies for 28,000 children; 25,000 ducks; safe shelter for 3,400 people; scholarships for 3,000 children and teens; shoes, socks and warm winter clothing for 35,000 children and adults; 3,800 beehives; and the protection of 459 women and children from further domestic violence or child abuse.

Since Giving Machines first launched in 2017, 1.5 million people have donated more than US$22 million.

Canada’s Giving Machines

Whether you choose to donate to the hungry or those experiencing homelessness, to provide clean water or aid in ensuring supportive services for those with special needs, your Giving Machine donation will make a difference.

One charity partner in the Calgary area is Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids, a community of over 600 volunteers who provide 6,500 lunches for schoolchildren every week. Executive Director Bethany Ross explains that one in four children in Alberta live in a home that has experienced food insecurity in the last year. She adds, “We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Giving Machine project.”

Other Calgary charities represented in the 2023 Giving Machines include The Alex, Inn from the Cold and Stephen’s Backpacks Society.

The Toronto Giving Machines will help Covenant House Toronto, Daily Bread Food Bank, Jays Care Foundation, Ronald McDonald House Charities Toronto and The Riverwood Conservancy.

International charities highlighted in the Canadian 2023 Giving Machines include UNICEF, Care Canada and Water Aid Canada.

Share Your Light” at Light the World Giving Machines in the following Canadian locations this holiday season:

Calgary — Southcentre Mall, November 28 to December 30

Toronto — CF Fairview Mall in North York, November 27 to December 31

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