In 2017 The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints teamed up with some of the best charities across the world to #lighttheworld by providing these incredible vending machines in Salt Lake City. These are not your normal vending machines full of snacks. No, these are giving machines. You swipe your card and select something to give. You can give anything from a goat and water to someone in a third world country, to glasses and books here locally. They have even teamed up with Utah Food Bank to give away meals to those in need.
Last year was the first year the machines were open and they raised over $550k in 2017 and donated over 290,000 meals to the Utah Food Bank! Thats a whole lot of giving! This year, 2018 they have machines in AZ, NYC, SLC, and one across seas. In the first week they were open, over $550k was donated! I know everyone wants to give, but it's hard to know where and to whom to give. This is a great way because you actually see exactly what you are giving, and it goes to someone in need, (not a non-profit employee paycheck).
The machines in SLC are located at Temple Square inside the Joseph Smith Memorial Building (east side of temple). They are open 9am-10pm. Credit cards only. It is pretty busy once the lights at Temple Square come on so be prepared to wait in line. We went on a Monday at 4:30 and had a 15 minute wait. But workers said the later it gets, the longer the wait, up to an hour or more. Slowest time is during the day.
They have menus so you can decide what you want to give before you get to the machines (which cuts down on wait time). We set a budget as a family before we went so the kids knew what we were going to spend before hand. Then they were able to decide what they wanted to buy at the giving machines.
This is BY FAR our favorite tradition that my kids look forward to each year. I hope they continue to have these giving machines every year! In addition to visiting the giving machines, we made care packages to hand out to those in need. We did this last year to "light the world" by "feeding the hungery". Now, it has become our new tradition. It's so nice to have something to give out to those in need as we walk through the streets of downtown Salt Lake.
P.S. your first 2 hrs are FREE parking at City Creek Center (across the street from Temple Square).