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Instead of candy bars, these vending machines can give out baby goats as gifts

Giving machines help 7 charities this Christmas

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A new way to spread holiday cheer by using a vending machine has come to central Indiana.

The Light the World Giving Machine initiative allows users to give to at two locations, Clay Terrace mall in Carmel, or Newfields art and nature museum in Indianapolis.

Co-chair Paul Sinclair says it’s been a great first season for these machines in the area.

It is “a remarkable experience for everybody here,” Sinclair said. “We have as many as a couple hundred vaccines that we’ve given to children, for example, and hundreds of meals to lots of people around Central Indiana.”

It’s as easy as buying a candy bar, with options to donate to local charities including Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana or international organizations such as the Red Cross.

The initiative is sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and has been operating since Black Friday.

Instead of candy bars, these vending machines dispense cardboard pictures of items such as sports equipment for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Indianapolis or a baby goat for the nonprofit Mentors International.

There are seven charities to choose from, with donations ranging from $3 to $300.

Rich Schroering and his family planned to donate at the machine in Carmel on Christmas Day.

He says it’s always been a family tradition to either volunteer or donate during the holidays, and these machines make it easy.

“I feel like the whole world has something inside them, deep inside them, that makes them want to care about others,” Schroering said. “Sometimes that goes awry, of course, but I think for the most part people want to see others being well off and taken care of.”

Since 2017, the machines have generated more than $21 million in donations.

This year, Light the World has these machines in 61 locations across the globe. Sinclair added, “When we only have 60 in the world, it’s remarkable because it gives us a sense of the giving spirit that Hoosiers have.”

Three machines are in central Indiana: two at Newfields and one at Clay Terrace. They will be open for donations through Jan. 7.