Submitted by Clairissa Cooper
Looking for a unique gift this holiday season?
This gift doesn’t involve waiting in lines. There are no shipping delays, product shortages, or worries about choosing the wrong size. With the simple click of a link, one can set aside the holiday hustle and bustle and bring to light a deeper meaning to the season.
Enter the Dallas-Fort Worth Light the World Giving Machine – a website that connects people to charitable organizations in the DFW Metroplex, providing a quick and easy way to help those in need.
The initiative is a twist on the iconic red “Giving Machines” found in major cities around the world and sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Those are a type of vending machine that work in reverse, allowing people to purchase much-needed items for a local or global charity with the swipe of a credit card.
Not all major markets are able to receive physical machines, but that doesn’t mean communities can’t participate in the giving spirit. The DFW Light the World Giving Machine provides the same opportunity to “light the world” with a simple donation.
The DFW Giving Machine is part of the Light the World campaign – an annual, worldwide initiative focused on bringing light (service, friendship, and relief) into the lives of all God’s children. This year’s theme of Light the World with Love aims to inspire people to live the principles of Christlike love through small, daily acts of service.
Links found at the DFW Giving Machine will direct visitors to a vetted, local charity website where Amazon wish lists, needed items, and other ways to help can be found. All donations will go directly to the organization.
“These organizations are serving the neediest members of our community all year round, and the virtual giving machine provides an easy and effective way to help them Light The World with Love during the Christmas season,” said Janae Baird, Fort Worth Communication Assistant Director for the Church of Jesus Christ. “Even small donations of gift cards or needed items are an amazing way for people to know that they are loved.”
Among the 20-plus local charity partners include Refugee Services of Texas, North Texas Food Bank, Salvation Army, Christian Community Action, Action Alliance International, Lovepacs, Neighbors Nourishing Neighbors, and more.
“We’re so fortunate in the DFW area to have such a diversity of religions, people, and ethnic groups. With that diversity, we’re good at exemplifying a true Texan spirit where we come together as one whenever there is a need in the community,” said Nancy Coplen, DFW Metro Communication Assistant Director for the Church of Jesus Christ.
A free calendar with daily service prompts, as well as uplifting videos, and other inspiring ways to Light the World can be found at LightTheWorld.org. Hundreds of thousands of people have chosen to help “light the world” since the initiative was first launched in 2017. Since then, more than $9.1 million has been donated to nonprofits and initiatives worldwide.
To participate in the DFW Light the World Giving Machine, visit churchofjesuschristinnorthtexas.org.
The virtual giving machine will remain on the website all year, not just during the holiday season. Local charities’ wish lists are just a click away.
“Love and service know no boundaries, no religion, race, or politics- and need knows no season,” said Giving Machine Coordinator Jani Nielsen. “It is my hope that folks will also explore volunteer opportunities through JustServe.org for a more hands-on volunteer experience. You can find an organization close to your home with volunteer needs by simply entering your zip code.”
“Giving anonymously through local charitable organizations can help us show our love for our neighbors in a meaningful way, and like the three wise men we read about in the New Testament, we can give gifts that not only help meet physical needs but also show we care,” said Baird.