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Light the World Giving Machine Update! How Do You Think Donations Are Going?

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The Light the World initiative of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is well underway once again this holiday season, featuring the theme “Let Your Light Shine.”

The initiative encourages Latter-day Saints and others to perform service activities during Christmastime to spread the light and love of Jesus Christ. Some examples include something as simple as smiling at someone, visiting with an elderly neighbor, holding the door open for a stranger or carrying an extra snack for someone in need.

Another way individuals can help this holiday season is through Giving Machines. The Church covers all operational costs for the machines, which means all credit card transaction fees are covered and 100% of the proceeds go to each participating organization. This year, people can purchase critical items like meals, clothing, education and hygiene kits at 61 locations across seven countries.

As of Monday, December 18, 2023, approximately 350,000 people have visited the Giving Machines, contributing to 75,000 separate transactions.

Here are some of the items that have been donated:

  • Nearly 1 million meals
  • More than 100,000 children’s books 
  • Hundreds of thousands of pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy, meat and staples 
  • Food, clothing, shelter, job opportunities, education and more for tens of thousands of refugees
  • Vaccinations against polio and measles for more than 1 million children
  • Hundreds of thousands of hygiene kits 
  • Education for hundreds of young African girls

The Giving Machines have been recognized by celebrities on social media, including actor Paul Rudd and Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs, as well as by local media stations.

Here are some global examples of Light the World service activities for the 2023 Christmas season. 

Africa 

Light the World - Africa

African Latter-day Saints brought friends and loved ones together through music and food. In Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Church organized a multi-faith concert. In Accra, Ghana, local musical groups participated in a concert celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. Also as part of the Light the World initiative, food was donated to needy families throughout West Africa, including at an event in Tamale, Ghana, that blessed more than 800 families.  

Light the World - Africa

Asia 

To invite the light of Christ in, members of the Tokyo Stake and Tokyo South Stake, together with missionaries from the Tokyo South Mission, held a Christmas concert.  

“We sang songs together in Japanese and English,” said Sister Tara Irwin of the Yokota Military Ward. “It was a wonderful experience where the two languages came together, and we felt the Spirit strongly through the music. It was a beautiful evening to start the Christmas season!” 

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Europe 

In Europe, Latter-day Saints organized the “Witnesses to Christmas – Carols About Christ” concert. The concert, which was recorded in the Kurhaus Wiesbaden in Wiesbaden, Germany, featured traditional Christmas carols from different countries, all sung by European singers who are members of the Church. 

“Through music, I was able to feel the great love that our Heavenly Father has for all his children, because he brought together so many artists from different places and with different languages in the same place everyone feels the same,” said Naura, an artist from Spain.  

Honduras 

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At the Manuel Bonilla National Theater in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, members of the Guaymuras Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sang Christmas carols and performed dramatizations of the birth of Jesus.  

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“It is a wonderful event,” said Rafael Cardona, a member of the Municipal Mayor of Tegucigalpa. “The Spirit of the Lord is felt. We know that we join the world to remember this very special event.”  

Mexico 

Jovenes-y-ninos-de-la-Iglesia-de-Jesucristo-de-los-Santos-de-los-Ultimos-Dias-en-el-Programa-Navideno-IluminaElMundo

At a Christmas program in Mexico City, which was broadcast nationwide, Elder Sean Douglas of the Mexico Area Presidency invited Latter-day Saints to share the light of Christ. Youth also participated in the event as they told the story of the birth of Jesus, sang Christmas carols and turned on nearly 250,000 lights at Temple Square in Mexico City. 

Pacific 

In Australia and New Zealand, members of the media recognized the Church’s Light the World Giving Machines in Auckland, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. 

“It fills my heart with joy to see people give. One of the donors said that it felt good to give back to a charity they had received help from in the past,” said Peta Kerwin, co-chair of this year’s Giving Machine launch in Melbourne, Australia.  

Philippines 

To celebrate the Christmas season in the Philippines, members of the Church lit thousands of festive lights on the grounds of the Manila Philippines Temple. During the ceremony ­­–– which welcomed celebrities and influencers, members of other faiths, and community leaders –– an interfaith choir comprised of full-time missionaries from the Philippines Quezon City Mission and seminarians from the Holy Apostle Senior Seminary sang Christmas carols. 

Peru 

In Peru, members of the Church of Jesus Christ donated several items –– including clothing, notebooks, toys and candy –– to children and families in need. Dozens of bags of cement were also delivered to a communal housing unit in Ate so retaining walls could be built to protect the area from possible flooding. 

United States 

Latter-day Saints in the United States also helped to “Light the World” this holiday season. In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, several area groups, churches and service organizations came together for a community food drive and multi-faith choir concert. The stake president, former Pittsburgh Steeler Chris Hoke, also presented the food bank with a $15,000 donation from the Church.  

On November 27, 2023, in New York City, 15 digital displays featuring Christmas messages illuminated Times Square. The Church also unveiled three Giving Machines during that event. 

Additional Giving Machines were also unveiled in more than 40 U.S. cities, including Atlanta, Georgia; Charlotte, North CarolinaKansas City, Missouri; Knoxville, Tennessee; Nashville, Tennessee; and Salt Lake City, Utah.

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