The touching idea behind these unusual vending machines

Some cities are providing a new way to give help to others who need it – and it’s as easy as buying a bar of chocolate or a packet of chips.

The Giving Machines are vending machines which instead of sweets and cans of soft drink, offer people the chance to “perform an instant act of service”.

The Giving Machines, part of the Light the World campaign, offer meals, farm animals, vaccines, resuscitation kits for babies and other items people may need like mosquito nets and sporting goods.

“The Giving Machines provide a way for people to quickly and easily help those in need and make their Christmas season a little more meaningful for themselves – and countless others,” the Light the World’s website says.

Picture of the giving machine - the vending machine which gives back to charity
Giving Machines have been placed in cities around the world to encourage people to give back this Christmas. Source: The Giving Machine/Facebook.

People can donate and purchase what they would like give back to local, or global communities in need, with a credit card or mobile pay.

The vending machines debuted in 2017 at four locations in Salt Lake City in the US state of Utah, and those four machines raised more than $A800,000 in the first year.

The following year, the machines were also placed in London, Manila, New York and Arizona. In 2018, 92,190 people participated and 18 charities benefited.

This year, Denver, Las Vegas, Orem and San Jose will also get the special vending machines.

“My family and I bought a goat for a family in Africa, and we were touched as we purchased supplies for a battered women’s shelter,” Jon LaClare, a visitor to the Giving Machines in Arizona last year, said in a press release.

“We used the opportunity to discuss charity with our children and better understand the meaning of Christmas. We can’t wait to visit the Giving Machines in our home city of Denver this year.”

The machine are only temporary over the holidays, and people can choose to donate between $US5 and $US500.

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