Downtown Denver vending machine collects cash for charities

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DENVER — Giving to charity is now as easy as getting a candy bar from a vending machine in downtown Denver.

The Giving Machine in Larimer Square allows donors to pick from a variety of gifts that can go to four local or two global charities. Some of the available items: a blanket or two meals at a local women’s shelter, or a pig, goat or water well for impoverished communities overseas.

“This is a cool way to come one-stop-shop,” donor Julie Zawalski said. “It’s very genius, very millennial and I like it.”

The Giving Machine is open from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. through New Year's Day. It's located at 16th & Lawrence Streets.

Since Nov. 26, people have donated around $200,000 at the Denver giving machines.

There are 10 worldwide. Together, donors have raised almost $2.4 million in a matter of weeks.

“It’s really easy, and I love that the church covers the credit card fees,” donor Valerie Johnson said. “One-hundred percent goes to the church charities, which is incredible."

Charities represented are:

  • Black Child Development Institute Denver -  focusing on education, health and literacy
  • Catholic Charities of Denver - providing valuable family support services
  • Mile High Ministries - serving families transitioning out of homelessness
  • Rose Andom Center - empowering domestic violence victims to live free from abuse
  • Water for People - supplying safe water and sanitation for 4 million people in 9 countries
  • CWS Global - feeding the hungry and assisting the vulnerable around the world

Visitors pay by credit card or mobile pay, then make their choice - just like a regular vending machine. But instead of “getting,” their money goes to buy that item for a person or family in need.

Prices start at $3.50 and top out at $300. A complete list of available items can be found at this link.

Light the World Giving Machines are sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which is covering machine costs, administrative fees and donation overhead.

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