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How nearly $6 million in donations at 2021 #LightTheWorld Giving Machines showed ‘lovingkindness’


Before Area Seventy Elder Jonathan S. Schmitt officially presented nearly $700,000 to six non-profits in Gilbert, Arizona, he spoke about how donations at the Giving Machines were truly “expressions of lovingkindness.”

“I worry sometimes that people may think a donation is nameless or faceless,” he said. “But it’s because of the staff, because of the volunteers of these local charities as these items are given to people, they become the face of love and they become the face of kindness to those who are the most vulnerable among us.”

Some 300,000 people throughout the United States visited a Light the World Giving Machine between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, donating a combined $5.8 million. The campaign has raised $15 million since its inception in 2017.

Area Seventy Elder Jonathan S. Schmitt, back left, with Mayor Brigette Peterson on the left, smile for pictures as checks are presented to local charity partners from the Gilbert Giving Machines at a city council meeting in Gilbert, Arizona, Feb. 22, 2022.

Area Seventy Elder Jonathan S. Schmitt, back left, with Mayor Brigette Peterson on the left, smile for pictures as checks are presented to local charity partners from the Gilbert Giving Machines at a city council meeting in Gilbert, Arizona, Feb. 22, 2022.

Credit: Screenshot from Gilbert Arizona YouTube channel

This year, the money benefited 44 charities in the United States and five global agencies.

Elder Schmitt and other representatives of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints held a ceremonial handover with large checks made out to each local charity partner, during the Gilbert City Council meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 22.

Around the U.S. similar presentations have been made to local charity partners in the 10 cities that hosted Giving Machines.  The Church covered all administrative costs for the machines — including credit card transaction fees — so all donations go directly to the charities. 

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

Robert Hokanson, the Church’s senior manager for humanitarian global priorities, speaks to global agencies’ representatives at a reception held to celebrate donations given to five global agencies following the 2021 Christmas season Light the World Giving Machines initiates, in New York City on March 9, 2022.

Robert Hokanson, the Church’s senior manager for humanitarian global priorities, speaks to global agencies’ representatives at a reception held to celebrate donations given to five global agencies following the 2021 Christmas season Light the World Giving Machines initiates, in New York City on March 9, 2022.

Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Newsroom reported that the most popular donations in 2021 included:

  • 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

Robert Hokanson, the Church’s senior manager for humanitarian global priorities, said these partnerships are indispensable links to alleviating suffering everywhere. And he said the use of Giving Machines 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.”

This year, Giving Machines were in Las Vegas, Nevada; Nashville, Tennessee; Honolulu, Hawaii; Denver, Colorado; Orem, Utah, and Salt Lake City; Oakland, California; Gilbert, Arizona; Kansas City, Missouri; and New York City.

Joyce Haldeman, the project director for the Las Vegas Giving Machines, said that even in the midst of an ongoing pandemic and economic uncertainty, the community stepped up.

“So many people made donations both large and small to make sure people have food and clothing,” she told the Church News in January.

See how much people generously donated at Giving Machines for #LightTheWorld in 2021

2021 local and global charity partners:

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

  • 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

  • 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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