The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints expanded its #LightTheWorld Giving Machines to 10 locations around the world, including one in Utah County.
Over the past month, the Church’s Giving Machines have raised over $1 million in donations for local and global charities.
The shopping center at the Orem University Place Mall is currently home to one of the Giving Machines.
“I was so excited when I heard about them being in Orem,” said UVU student Savannah Kofford.
People can purchase items from these vending machines ranging from $2 to $320, including food, clothing, medicine and more.
Provo resident Austin Rambo is at the mall almost every night training the full-time missionaries and volunteers to help people use the Giving Machines.
“It’s been good to see all the people that come in and donate, and [see] the volunteers. It’s just a nice way to spend the holiday season,” he said.
The items will be donated to four local charities, including the Community Action Services and Food Bank in Provo.
Community Action Executive Director Karen McCandles said the organization provides meals to around 40 families per day, so the donations will make a significant impact.
“Thousands and thousands and thousands of meals are going to be provided to our friends and neighbors in the Utah, Summit, and Wasatch County communities,” she said.
But regardless of how much they receive, she said the agency is grateful to be part of the Church’s initiative.
“I tell people, even if we didn’t get a penny from the giving machines, just the awareness about our existence here in the community and people turning their hearts over and looking at what can be done to help those who are poor in our community. That’s exposure that’s invaluable,” she said.
The Giving Machines in Orem will be open throughout the Christmas season. You can also donate to the local charities online here.