Light the World Giving Machines made their debut Tuesday, November 30, at New York City’s Rockefeller Center near its iconic Christmas tree.
Since 2017, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has organized the annual effort to help those in need around the world.
“We are delighted to once again partner with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on their Giving Machines project,” said Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York. “This is an opportunity for Catholic Charities to promote many of our programs and giving opportunities as we embark on the Christmas season.”
The popular New York City destination is one of 10 locations where people can donate to dozens of local and global charities through the popular red vending machines during the Christmas season.
The organizations benefiting from the New York City Giving Machines include Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York, the Mariano Rivera Foundation, The New York Board of Rabbis and The Actors Fund.
“The COVID-19 pandemic brought the world to a crawl and created unprecedented challenges, particularly for members of the performing arts and entertainment community,” said Brian Stokes Mitchell, chairman of the board of The Actors Fund.
“We were one of the first industries to go down because of COVID 20 months ago, and we are among the slowest to return right now," Mitchell explained. "People have lost their health insurance, and these Giving Machines are going to help out those performers, those artists … who we rely on, who I have relied on to get me through this pandemic with a sense of sanity.”
The Broadway actor and singer has performed with The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square and is a guest soloist and narrates this year’s television special, “20 Years of Christmas With The Tabernacle Choir.”
The theme for this year’s Giving Machines initiative is “Light the World with Love.”
“What we do outside determines how sincere we were inside. So, thank you to the Church for allowing us to be part of that service. And together with our respective lights, let’s bring a lot more illumination into a world that needs us,” explained Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, executive vice president of The New York Board of Rabbis.
“We’re just so delighted to be part of this great partnership in a world in which too many want to divide us from each other. We’re here to stay together," added Monsignor Sullivan.
The charity organizations receive 100% of the funds collected.
“We are so grateful that, for the first time, we get to partner with the Giving Machines, and we will be providing some opportunities for children that are in orphanages, and no need is too small," said Lisa Vega, executive director of the Mariano Rivera Foundation.
“Every year, the world needs a message of giving. And so this message of giving is encompassed here in these Giving Machines, where it makes it possible for people to give to people in need," said David Checketts, former president and CEO, Madison Square Garden.
This year’s global charities include CARE, Church World Service, USA for UNHCR – the UN Refugee Agency, UNICEF and WaterAid.
“Children are facing unprecedented hardships during the global pandemic. It is important now, more than ever, that the world needs to come together to support them,” said Michael J. Nyenhuis, president and CEO of UNICEF USA. “We love this idea of bringing different faith groups and secular organizations together and highlighting this work and giving people a chance to give back.”
Nyenhuis continued, “We are grateful for the opportunity to be part of the Giving Machines again this year, which allow people to select a UNICEF Inspired Gift, lifesaving supplies that UNICEF delivers to children and communities around the world. Whether it is providing a healthcare worker with the protection they need to reach vulnerable communities with essential services, or getting a polio vaccine to a child, this initiative is offering people the chance to make a difference around the world.”
“Every donation to the Light the World campaign is an act of love and compassion that shows refugee families they are not alone this holiday season. Giving Machines will provide people all over the world the opportunity to act on the values they hold dear and make a meaningful impact in lives of families who need our support most,” said Anne-Marie Grey, executive director and CEO of USA for UNHCR.
Kelly Parsons, the CEO of WaterAid America, said, “The Giving Machines offer a fun experience for the whole family, and they enable us to touch lives around the world through the power of clean water. With the push of a button, you can provide soap for students to wash their hands or a water pump so a family no longer has to walk for miles in search of water. Each donation starts a ripple effect that is felt far and wide: one community, one family, one child at a time.”
“CARE is honored to partner with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ annual Light the World holiday initiative,” said Michelle Nunn, president and CEO of CARE USA. “The Giving Machines remain a wonderfully creative way to enable critical lifesaving relief. In the spirit of the original CARE Packages, this is a simple and powerful way of standing in solidarity with those in need.”
The Giving Machines will be available to the public through New Year’s Day. Visit LightTheWorld.org to learn more about this year’s Light the World initiative.