UK Charity Launches Vending Machines for Homeless That Give Out Free Living Essentials
Social Issues| | By Jason Owen
A charity in London is launching a new initiative to help homeless people get living essentials, and they hope that in 2018 it will spread to the United States. The program installs vending machines for homeless people in cities; the machines allow people to take up to three essential items per day.
The charity, Action Hunger, which bills itself as a “charity with a new approach to combating homelessness,” is installing vending machines that provide free food and clothing in “key locations” of cities in the United Kingdom.
“The machines dispense water, fresh fruit, energy bars, crisps, chocolate, and sandwiches, as well as socks, sanitary towels, antibacterial lotion, toothbrush and toothpaste combination packs, and books,” the charity wrote on its website.
According to Reuters, the food is donated by grocers and other charities with excess produce to help reduce waste. Volunteers with Action Hunger restock the machines.
Eligible recipients can access the machine using a special key card. Recipients then pick three free items per day.
“It’ll help a lot with blankets and the gloves and that if you need something to eat,” Lisa Edwards, a homeless woman, told reporters. “Obviously [stores are closed] at night, you can come here and get something to eat.”
The charity hopes to expand their generous nature into the United States in 2018. It’s a fitting move as studies show Americans throw away up to 50 percent of the total produce grown in the country. Grocery stores make up nearly 10 percent of all food waste. If that perfectly edible discarded food is instead shifted to helping the most vulnerable, it could make a considerable dent feeding the indigent, including the nearly 1.4 million homeless children in America.
What do you think of the vending machines for homeless people initiative? Do you think it will help, or is this an undeserving handout? SHARE your thoughts in the comments. Watch the full Reuters report below.