Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

A ribbon-cutting ceremony at Water Town Plaza last Monday kicked off the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Giving Machine campaign.

After a year’s postponement due to the pandemic, the popular Giving Machines are back in Gilbert after they were officially launched last week. 

The town is one of 10 locations around the world that host the vending machines, which allow people to donate to selected nondenominational charities.

“The Giving Machines started in 2017 and in the four years over $9 million has been raised worldwide,” said Jennifer Wheeler, spokeswoman for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The Giving Machines are part of the Church’s annual Light the World campaign that asks people to take the 25 days leading up to Christmas and turn it into a season of helping others in need. 

The Church first used the Giving Machine in 2017, placing one machine in Salt Lake City, which raised more than $550,000. In 2018, the first machines to Arizona landed in Gilbert.

The machines are stocked with pictures showing items such as food, clothing, medicine, hygiene supplies, wheelchairs, sporting equipment and livestock that can be donated to charity with a credit-card donation. 

 This year’s local nonprofits that’ll receive the donations are A New Leaf, Arizona Disabled Sports, Catholic Charities Community Services Arizona, Child Crisis Arizona, St. Mary’s Food Bank and United Food Bank.

Although the machines were not out in 2020 due to COVID-19, the Church encouraged donors to continue giving to charities. 

“The format for last year directed donors to the local charities’ websites,” Wheeler said. “The church doesn’t have any information on how much was donated to each local charity via the Giving Machines online portal. 

“I’m not sure if the local charities tracked their donations in a way that would indicate if they came through the Giving Machine portal or not. The total donated to global charities through the virtual Giving Machines last year was approximately $850,000.” 

In its inaugural year, the Gilbert location ranked the second highest with the most money donated at $80,600 with 34,000 transactions during the 38 days of the campaign.

From those donations four Valley nonprofits – A New Leaf, Helen’s Hope Chest, St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance and United Food Bank – received more than a combined total of $240,000.

In the following year, Gilbert raised approximately $1.1 million for an overall total of $6.2 million in 2019, according to Wheeler.

“Since people can give to the world wide organizations through the Gilbert Giving Machines, approximately $750,000 went to the local charities in 2019,” she said. Other locations with the machines include Salt Lake City, Utah, New York City, New York, London, England and Manila, Philippians. 

All the donations go directly to the charities with the church covering the administration costs. 


Light The World Giving Machines  

When: 9 a.m.-11 p.m., 

Where: Water Tower Plaza, 45 W. Page Ave.

 When: Through the first week of January