News Release

Light the World Giving Machines in 2021 Yielded Nearly US$6 Million in Donations

The money is being distributed to 44 United States charities and five global agencies

During the 2021 Christmas season, some 300,000 people throughout the United States visited a Light the World Giving Machine, donating a combined US$5.8 million. The holiday initiative, now in its fifth year, is sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The red vending machines, stationed in 10 cities around the country, allow a person to purchase items (such as clothing, meals, clean water and livestock) that will later be distributed to those in need by various charities. Some popular items purchased in 2021 were:

  • Essential clothing for nearly 20,000 children
  • A polio vaccine for 837,000 children
  • Chickens for more than 80,000 families (these animals provide long-term nutrition and income)
  • Over 10,000 menstrual care kits to keep girls in school
  • More than 1.7 million meals and 14,000 boxes of fresh produce to feed the hungry

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Funds are being distributed to 44 charities in the United States and five global agencies.*

A reception was held in New York City on Wednesday, March 9, to celebrate donations with the five global organizations: Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere (CARE USA), Church World Service (CWS Global), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and WaterAid.

Lacey Stone of USA for UNHCR said the purchased goods will be a boon to many of the more than 82 million refugees around the world. The organization, which has worked with the Church since 1991, is putting its Giving Machine donations toward core relief items such as blankets, solar lanterns, tents and shelters to help those enduring winter in Afghanistan.

“These efforts absolutely are making a difference for the tens of thousands of children, women and men who have been forced to flee,” said Stone, who is her organization’s director of private sector engagement and partnerships. “For them, it makes all the difference in the world.”

The donations will also provide critical aid to children hit hard by the pandemic by offering education, routine immunizations and healthy meals.

Rachel Steinberg, UNICEF managing director for global cause partnerships, said this help for children is an “incredible representation” of the partnership (now in its 10th year) between Latter-day Saint Charities and UNICEF. This is because the Giving Machines allow people to “give back to children around the world. And that is at the core of the mission of our partnership: coming together and having an impact and a wider reach for children around the world — particularly children who are in the most vulnerable and challenged places.”

Steinberg said it’s inspiring “to see that even when people [in the United States] are going through some of their darkest times over these last two years, that they take a moment and they step outside of that experience and they choose to give something back to somebody else who they’ve never met from somewhere else in the world.”

Robert Hokanson, the Church’s senior manager for humanitarian global priorities, said the faith’s partnerships with these organizations are indispensable links to alleviating suffering everywhere. He also said the use of Giving Machines, which have raised US$15 million since their inception in 2017, will likely continue to grow.

“People are looking for things that they can contribute to and be a part of,” Hokanson said. “That sentiment is everywhere throughout the world.” 

Giving Machines are a part of the annual Light the World Christmas initiative sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ. The initiative encourages people to follow the example of the Savior of the world by serving others. The Church covers administrative and operational fees (including those for credit card transactions), allowing participating organizations to receive 100% of every penny donated.

*U.S. Charities

Denver, Colorado

  • Jewish Family Services of Colorado
  • Project Worthmore
  • The Crowley Foundation
  • The Denver Rescue Mission

Gilbert, Arizona

  • Arizona Brainfood
  • A New Leaf
  • Catholic Charities Community Services
  • Child Crisis Arizona
  • St. Mary’s Food Bank
  • United Food Bank

Honolulu, Hawaii

  • Aloha Medical Mission
  • Family Promise of Hawaii
  • Helping Hands Hawaii
  • The Salvation Army

Kansas City, Missouri

  • Hope Faith
  • Hope House
  • Operation Breakthrough
  • The Don Bosco Centers

Las Vegas, Nevada

  • Communities in Schools of Nevada
  • EyeCare4Kids
  • Future Smiles
  • Opportunity Village
  • Three Square

Nashville, Tennessee

  • ABLE Youth
  • Elmahaba Center
  • Nashville International Center for Empowerment (NICE)
  • One Generation Away
  • Sleep in Heavenly Peace

New York City, New York

  • Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New York
  • The Actors Fund
  • The New York Board of Rabbis
  • The Mariano Rivera Foundation

Oakland, California

  • Emeryville Citizens Assistance Program
  • George Mark Children’s House
  • Tri-Valley Haven

Orem, Utah

  • Community Action Services and Food Bank
  • Habitat for Humanity of Utah County
  • Tabitha’s Way Local Food Pantry
  • United Way of Utah County
  • 5 for the Fight

Salt Lake City, Utah

  • American Indian Services
  • Rise Up School of Dance
  • Rose Park Neighborhood Center/Good Samaritan Foundation
  • Utah Refugee Connection
  • 5 for the Fight

Global Charities

  • Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere (CARE USA)
  • Church World Service (CWS Global)
  • United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
  • United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF)
  • WaterAid

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