The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recently announced their “Light the World” Service Campaign for the 2017 Christmas season. The 2016 “Light the World” campaign was so successful that it was brought back – bigger and better – this year. The whole purpose for the campaign is for people from around the world to join together in giving acts of service.
One new addition to the 2017 campaign is the placement of red vending machines in the corner of the main lobby of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. These vending machines are much different than the normal ones. You can go to these vending machines, select an item, pay your money, and get nothing more than good feelings and a machine-generated receipt for a charitable giving tax deduction. The charity organizations that are partnering with the Church will do the rest.
The money that is put into the machine can pay for any number of things that people in a Third World country could use this Christmas. You could buy eye glasses ($5), an eye exam ($20), two chickens ($25), or even a goat ($75). Other items for sale in the machines are shoes, first aid kits, and lifesaving medicines.
I liked the idea of giving a goat and/or chickens to a family. It would be a great conversation starter to tell people that you gave a goat and chickens for Christmas! How many people could match that statement? In all seriousness, the animals could provide milk and eggs for the family or to sell for money to pay for other expenses.
Since I am not in Salt Lake City, Utah, and am unable to go to the vending machines, I looked up the charitable organization on line. I learned that I could give two chickens for $25, two goats for $150, or a goat and two chickens for $100. I was almost ready to donate when I decided to read the small print. It basically said that the organization would use the donation for whatever purpose they felt was most important and could not guarantee that it would be used for the selected items.
The company statement was no-deal for me. If I cannot depend on a family receiving a goat and two chickens, I will continue to do my giving through the Church humanitarian department. By sharing through the Church, I know that 100 percent of my donation will go to the cause, and I do not have this guarantee with any other organization. Still, I am disappointed because I really wanted to give a goat for Christmas!