News Story

'Tis the Season' to Wrap-up the Giving Machines

Gatherings in Australia and New Zealand cause people to reflect on why we give

Auckland, Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, and Perth are just five of 61 locations worldwide where Giving Machines operated in 2023—organized by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Giving Machine organizing committees in Australia and New Zealand recently held thank you events with representatives from local charities, expressing gratitude for their support during the recent Christmas season.

Elder Jeremy R. Jaggi of the Pacific Area Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints shared how the Giving Machines initiative is all about volunteers. As he addressed charity representatives and others, he said, “We are just delighted to be able to work with you as our fellow servants in the vineyard.” He then shared his feelings about Jesus' service among the people.

In Melbourne, 14,220 Food Bank meals and 3,780,000 litres of purified water were some of the donations made through the Giving Machines.

In acknowledging the impact that Giving Machines have around the world, Melbourne’s Giving Machine Committee co-chair, David Kerwin, said, “It’s a lot bigger than just our machines here.” 

In Auckland, some of the donations included 2227 food packs, 748 baby items, 100 respite care nights for families impacted by Cancer, and 95 pairs of school shoes.

In Auckland, Elder Jeremy R. Jaggi (centre) and Derek Good present the Vending Direct organization with a certificate acknowledging their contribution.© 2024 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Queensland Communication Director, Kristie Gibson, spoke about the commitment of the 220 volunteers who represented the charity organizations and their items in the Giving Machines. “They travelled long distances, in storms, to be there,” said Kristie, “including many families and youth who loved the experience of connection in talking to their community about the great work being done by the charities.”

She continued: “Many spoke of the generosity of strangers who gave freely, some having experienced long hospital stays supported by Children’s Hospital Foundation. . . Some had experienced domestic violence and wanted to give back to GIVIT to support others in similar situations. Others recognized the sacrifice of our veterans and wanted to support them.”

Pacific GM
Pacific GM
The Brisbane Giving Machine Committee began its event by holding a meetinghouse tour in Karawatha for guests.© 2024 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Councilor Miriam Stemp of the Logan City Council, Division 10, said of the event, “We celebrated the kindness, generosity and hard work of so many who contributed to the ‘Light The World’ Giving Machines project. . .  It was lovely to hear about the difference these funds will make to their charity organizations and the stories of the community who volunteered. I would like to say a big ‘Thank you’ to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who organized this project.”

Elder Wayne Maurer, a Church leader from Brisbane, spoke of loving our neighbour and looking for ways to lift those around us. He talked about the number of items donated and what that meant for the 169 families, or 540 people receiving warm meals.

As each charity representative responded, there was unity of purpose in helping those in need.

Perth Church leader, Ryan Jenkins, said, “Whilst the Giving Machines are gone for a time, what remains is the positive feelings of giving. The recipients will feel the ongoing impact of the donations and the spirit of giving.”

Area GM
Area GM
James Hussey of Perth, Australia appreciated the experience of donating to the Giving Machine in December© 2024 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Perth teenager, James Hussey, said, "I’m really grateful for the opportunity I had to donate something to the Giving Machine when it came to Perth, Australia. I went with my family one evening just before Christmas to choose a gift to give to someone, and chose a primary school pack, because I wanted to help someone else have the essential things you need for school to be able to learn, which I’m blessed to have. I’m grateful for the blessing of gaining an education. It’s something I wish every child in the world could receive as it opens doors for opportunities to bless their lives, and the lives of others."

The Sydney Giving Machine Committee has plans to meet individually with their participating charities in March.

For the Sydney Children’s Hospital Foundation, 149 donations were given to support neonatal nurses, 109 wheelchairs, 39 art program packs, 33 donations toward children’s cancer research, and 35 music therapy sessions.

In Melbourne, Dianne Bowley was one of 192 volunteers who, together, gave 700 hours of service.

She said, “One day a group of young boys came through. One stopped and looked and found that he could give a $5 donation, exclaiming, ‘I can do that!’ So many people wanted to know more about the Giving Machines. It was a wonderful opportunity.”

Grant Logie, a local Church leader in Melbourne, related what he described as a “widow’s mite story.” He saw a woman “clearly doing it tough.” She saw Food Bank in the donations and said, “I’ve needed this service before; now I’d like to give back.”

Addressing charity representatives, Logie said, “We do a lot in our church to help people, and you are helping us to be involved in our communities. We have an army of volunteers that we can call upon. We can be available to help you with your projects through JustServe. We’re here to help and we want to help. Human hearts change through interactions with others. When that service is done voluntarily, the experience is all the sweeter. Thank you for helping us to follow our Saviour, Jesus Christ. He walked the Earth, helping and blessing lives. You are doing that. The world is seeking this happiness and joy.”

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