DENVER (KDVR) — If giving to charity was as straightforward as using a vending machine, how likely would you be to donate that way?
In Denver, the machines have been popular ways to easily give back since they were “unwrapped” in December 2019. Last year, the machines garnered over $267,000 in donations. Giving machines globally have collected over $22 million since their introduction in 2017.
Denver Mayor Mike Johnston on Monday welcomed the local charities that stand to benefit from the machines.
This year, four machines are going to be located at the entrance of the Cherry Creek North Winter Wanderland Holiday Market, near 2nd Avenue and Fillmore Street. The machines will be ready for donors on Nov. 16-Dec. 24.
Participants get to “choose an item, change a life,” and can also donate online if it’s too difficult to make it to an in-person machine. Donors can receive text or email receipts for workplace matching programs or tax deductions.
This year’s charities include five new Colorado-based groups and two global groups. The charities are:
- Colorado Hosting Asylum Network, a volunteer-run charity that provides aid to asylum-seekers fleeing physical and political persecution.
- The Delores Project, a charity that aids around 450 women a year with emergency housing and supportive housing for disabled women with chronic homelessness.
- The Global Down Syndrome Foundation, a charity that supports other Down Syndrome foundations worldwide and also provides classes and training in Denver for folks with Down Syndrome, such as ballet and sports for youth and job training for adults.
- The Salvation Army, a charity focused on food insecurity and transitional housing.
- Camp POSTCARD, a Volunteers of America program that provides disadvantaged children in the Denver/Aurora area with first-time mountain summer camp experiences.
- Church World Service, a worldwide charity offering shelter and services for asylum seekers and refugees, as well as coordinating emergency disaster relief efforts.
- The American Red Cross, an emergency relief organization that largely provides shelter and support amid natural disasters, as well as support for armed service members.
Donations through the giving machines can range from $5 to $175 for specific items requested, or donors can spend up to $3,000 in one transaction on several items at once.
The machines allow anyone to purchase services or items like basketballs, ballet outfits or s’mores kits, but also allow the charities to request certain service items, like skills certifications, safe housing and specifically this year, a goat.
Once the donation is processed through the machine, a card representing the donation is dropped to a bin below, where ordinarily the purchaser would remove their item. Instead, the cards pile up below, showing how much has already been given.
The machines are owned and provided by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which covers all of the machine costs so 100% of donations go to the selected charity. The machines only accept credit cards or mobile pay — no cash.