The Macy’s Department Store may be gone from University Place, but its mall entrance is likely to have lots of visitors this holiday season thanks to the Giving Machines for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Latter-day Saint Charities.
The Giving Machines, located in only 10 places worldwide, have found a home at the Orem mall and begin taking donations Tuesday.
Elder Craig C. Christensen, Area General Authority Seventy, said at a special press conference and unveiling of the machines Monday that he expects the Orem location to be one of the most giving.
“We’ve always been philanthropic in Orem,” Christensen said. “People here are very generous and this gives us an opportunity to help local charities.”
One of those charities is the Community Action Services and Food Bank.
“This will help provide meals for friends and neighbors,” said Karen McCandless, executive director of Community Action.
Not only will local charities receive help, but donations can be made to people and charities all over the world. That is happening because of a partnership with the Church World Services and its 37 denomination members.
Rev. Rebekah Belase of CWS said while the organization has partnered with the LDS Church on other projects this is the first time partnering with the Giving Machines.
“It’s amazing to have the local and global partnership,” Belase said.
Larry Conover, CWS senior development officer, said just $15 will help train a mother with a malnutritioned baby and will feed the baby until it starts thriving.
The Giving Machines started three years ago, according to Christensen, with the first year being a beta test. Last year they had five machines and this year 10.
“This year we will be adding new locations for our Giving Machines,” said Elder Brent H. Nielson, General Authority Seventy in a press release. “This unique way to give not only blesses the life of the giver, but also lifts the receiver in locations all around the world. Our hope is to offer opportunities to Light the World one by one.”
Several local groups will benefit from the Orem Giving Machine, along with the Community Action Services and Food Bank. Donations in the Orem machine will include items benefiting the Center for Women and Children in Crisis, United Way of Utah County and the Family Support and Treatment Center.
Bill Hulterstrom, president of the United Way of Utah County said, “We are absolutely thrilled being a part of the Giving Machines program.”
The items in the machines range in price from $2 to $310 and include food, clothing, medicine, hygiene supplies, sporting equipment and livestock. Christensen demonstrated the machines by buying a pig for $100. The global charity will get the donation and deliver the pig to a family in need.
“We’re flattered that University Place was selected for this wonderful giving opportunity,” said Arthur Woodbury, Vice President of Woodbury Corporation. “We hope it will be a tradition for years to come.”
The Giving Machines raised more than $2.3 million in 2018 for global charities.
“These Giving Machines are an example of the big things that can happen when many people give just a little,” added Sister Bonnie H. Cordon, Young Women general president in a press release. “That is what it means to Light the World one by one – when we each give what we can offer, our little light adds to a brightness of hope.”
Other Giving Machine locations are at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in Salt Lake City; Las Vegas, Nevada; Gilbert, Arizona; Laie, Hawaii; Denver, Colorado; San Jose, California; New York, New York; London, England and Manila, Philippines.