For the Kent Reporter
For the last three years, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has invited all to participate in its Light the World campaign.
The campaign is an effort to encourage all people to find small ways to serve and give to others and the community during the holiday season.
The church installed Giving Machines in select cities around the world at which people can purchase donations including jump ropes, school supplies, polio vaccines, menstrual hygiene kits and even livestock. The Giving Machines are essentially a vending machine at which people donate money and take away the knowledge that their donation will help someone in need.
One-hundred percent of the donation goes to individuals with the church paying all administrative costs.
The Giving Machines are in partnership with charitable organizations such as UNICEF and Water for People, and are located in New York, Los Angeles, Denver, London, Manila and other select cities.
Kentlake High School graduate Nathan Hanis has been serving as a missionary for the church in Las Vegas for nearly two years. He had an opportunity to volunteer at the Giving Machine and said that people really enjoyed the ability to make donations from just a couple of dollars, to hundreds of dollars, knowing those donations will go to help individuals in the community and throughout the world. He made a donation that purchased chickens for a family in another country.
While there are not any Giving Machines locally, there are many local charities to support. These include the Kent Food Bank (KentFoodBank.org), Kent Youth and Family Services (Kyfs.org), KentHope which assists those experiencing homelessness in the community (KentHope.org), the Kent Community Foundation that supports cultural educational arts through grants and scholarships (KentCommunityFoundation.org), among other wonderful local organizations.
The church is also inviting people to serve by giving in a more personal way through the Light the World program. A calendar has been created with simple suggestions of service that can be done each day during the holiday season. For example, one service prompt encourages participants to send a text message to a friend and express your appreciation for them. Another service prompt encourages participants to perform a simple act of service for a family member or friend.
Anyone can register for free to receive the daily service prompts via email or text message at www.comeuntochrist.org. The monthly calendar can also be downloaded with each of the suggested service suggestions.