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‘Giving machines’ put vending twist on charitable giving in 2 OC locations

Those in the spirit of giving back this holiday season have a unique way to do so this year via a vending machine installed at Pacific City in Huntington Beach that lets people pick out items to buy for charitable causes locally and across the world.

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Dubbed the “giving machine,” it’s a big red vending machine where people can pay with credit and debit cards for items such as meals, clothes or health care for people in need.

Three of the machines are available at Pacific City; each has cards corresponding to different charitable gifts and denotes which charity will benefit from the donation. Once one is purchased, the cards are then dropped and held inside the machine to show what others have donated.

Mark Mortensen, a church leader with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said seeing the machines gives people the opportunity to feel good by being able to give to a plethora of causes.

Mortensen said Huntington Beach is the first city is Southern California to have the giving machines.

The giving machines will be in Huntington Beach through Dec. 17 and will then be available at Dana Point Harbor from Dec. 19 to Dec. 29.

The vending machines are on the ground level of Pacific City near the Urban Outfitters and will operate from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The charities that benefit from the machines include the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Orange Coast, To Ukraine With Love, the Pacific Marine Mammal Center, the Children’s Hospital of Orange County and UNICEF.

Svitlana Miller, a native Ukrainian and founder of To Ukraine With Love, said people can buy through the vending machines a bed for someone displaced from their homes by the fighting in Ukraine.

“A lot of these people have been sleeping on the floors of shelters,” Miller said, “and to be sleeping in a warm bed would be something I would buy.”

Donations range from $5 to several hundred dollars. Huntington Beach and Dana Point are two of 61 locations throughout the world that will have the vending machines during the holiday season

At a ceremony for the machines on Tuesday night, “Santa Claus” purchased one of everything in the machines for more than $1,700.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints owns the machines and is picking up the administrative costs to allow 100% of people’s donations to go toward what they purchased.

The church began the program in 2017 and has since garnered $22 million in donations through the machines, funding meals, clothes, shelter, scholarships and vaccinations, according to a news release.


Source: Orange County Register

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