Asia's First Light the World Giving Machines Now Open at SM Megamall

News Release

The Philippines lights the world with the first and only giving machines in the country and in all of Asia. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Church of Jesus Christ) with Caritas Manila, UNICEF Philippines, and The Purple Centers Foundation launched the Light the World Giving Machines (LTW Giving Machines) on 23 November 2018 at the Upper Ground Level of SM Megamall Building A, EDSA Entrance.

Media Release | Light the World Campaign Videos

Elder Michael John U. Teh, Philippines Area Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ; Fr. Anton Pascual, Executive Director of Caritas Manila; Ms. Maria Margarita Baula, Corporate Fundraising Officer of UNICEF Philippines; Ms. Raquel Elias, Health & Human Service Officer of The Purple Centers Foundation; and Mr. Paulo Dizon, Assistant Manager of SM Megamall Administration, led the ribbon cutting during an intimate ceremony held at the LTW Giving Machines site in front of partners, friends and the media.

“We’re grateful to be here and excited for this unique way that we can allow our brothers and sisters to help each other,” Elder Teh said in his short address to the partners and guests. “This opens a way for many who have the opportunity to help donate to charitable organizations, and this just makes it easy for everyone.”

Following the ribbon-cutting ceremony, the partners held a press conference at the Lugang Café. Included in the panel were Elder Teh; Jairus Perez, Latter-day Saints Charities (LDSC) Country Director; Ms. Kiel Fernandez, a representative from the Caritas Manila, Inc. Stewardship Division; Ma. Margarita Baula; Ms. Raquel Elias; Eric “Eruption” Tai, Amazing Race Asia Season 5 racer, athlete, host, actor, and gamer; and Jairus Aquino, a Star Magic talent.

When asked about the purpose for the Giving Machines, Elder Teh explained that the Church sponsors the Light the World campaign, timed during the Christmas season, to encourage people to think of others and to serve them in the 25 days leading up to Christmas Day.

“We do this to be able to light the world in following the example of the Savior Jesus Christ who truly is the Light of the World. This is what it’s all about,” he said.

On why the Church chose the Philippines as one of the venues for the LTW Giving Machines, Elder Teh explained that Filipinos are known to be very giving people. He also added that having good [charity] partners played a key role in the selection.

Unlike the regular vending machines, wherein costumers buy something for themselves, Jairus Perez explained the uniqueness of the giving machines. “The special thing about these machines is that they give us, the people, an opportunity to help instantly. You’ll just be using the machines to donate directly.”

Elder Teh also added that donating through Giving Machines becomes a personal choice because individuals can focus on filling a certain type of need for a beneficiary.

“The best part that got me was the 100% [of the donation] goes to not the charity organizations but to the person in need,” said Eric Tai when asked what made him support the campaign. “We should be privileged because we’re the only country in the whole of Asia that has this opportunity to be able to do so.”

The products that individuals can buy from the LTW Giving Machines can fulfill various needs, such as food supplies for a family for one month, school kits for students, three-day allowances for young college students, and assistive devices for children with disabilities.

Eighteen-year-old actor Jairus Aquino also expressed his support to the Light the World Giving Machines. “Giving things that other people need is important to me,” he said. “I’m very happy to help and support this advocacy because it’s from the Church.”

One-hundred percent (100%) of the donations will go directly to the beneficiaries of the three charity partners, which are Caritas Manila, UNICEF Philippines, and The Purple Centers Foundation. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will cover administrative costs for this campaign. 

Some products that UNICEF Philippines offers are the Gift of Vision, the Gift of Hearing, and the Gift of Mobility. Ms. Baula explained that one in seven children have disabilities, which is about five million children. One-point-five million (1.5 million) of those children require assistive devices. Any amount given to the Gift of Vision, Gift of Mobility or Gift of Hearing goes towards the 1.5 million under-served and differently abled children.

“This is actually a platform for the people to give,” Ms. Baula said. “Not a lot of people know how to give. They want to… but they don’t know how. The Light the World Giving Machines is the perfect opportunity to do that.”

The LTW Giving Machines will also benefit the flagship Education Program of Caritas Manila, a proud partner of the Church for three years now. Items bought from the machines will help provide young college students and youth enrolled at vocational-technology courses.

Moreover, the machines will benefit underprivileged and indigent families, disaster survivors and individuals undergoing drug rehabilitation. “We have community-based and parish-based rehabilitation programs, and you can also support these programs through the giving machines,” Ms. Fernandez said.

The Purple Centers Foundation has been a partner with LDSC for two years and works with indigent families and students living in dumpsite communities, such as in Tondo, Bulacan and Baguio City. Ms. Elias explained that The LTW Giving Machines will help almost 800 beneficiaries enrolled in their feeding, education, and health and wellness programs. 

Now on its third year, the Light the World campaign encourages individuals around the world to make a difference in other people’s lives through different acts of service.

The Light the World Giving Machines is a way for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to expand its efforts in inviting people to donate items to someone in need. These special giving machines are in four other locations, namely London, United Kingdom; Salt Lake City, Utah; Gilbert, Arizona; and New York, New York. They will continue to accept donations until 31 December 2018.

“We do this because we follow Jesus Christ," Elder Teh emphasized. "Jesus Christ lived on this earth and He gave. The ultimate gift that He gave for us is His life that we may live, that we might have joy." 

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