Canada’s first Giving Machines are coming to Calgary later this month.

The project, which has been well established in the U.S. for a few years now, provides a convenient way for people to purchase items for a number of charity organizations.

They look and function like vending machines, though instead of dispensing snacks, they house gift cards that represent a wide range of items including sleeping bags, snack and hygiene items, a shuttle ride to the hospital, and things like even goats and chickens.

Co-lead for Giving Machine Calgary, Allison Steed, says the price range on the items is pretty wide.

“We’ve really tried to make it accessible for anybody and everybody who wants to come and help out. There’s all sorts of price ranges from 5, 20, 50, 150, and 250 dollars and in between. There's tonnes of different ideas and options for things to pull at your heartstrings and make you think ‘oh, I’d love to do that to help somebody else.’

The initiative is funded by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and benefits a wide range of local and global organizations including KidSport, Inn from the Cold, Unicef Canada, and the UN Refugee Agency. All proceeds from the machine go directly to charities.

The machine allows users to select multiple items and provides tax receipts.

“Hopefully it really brings people out, because we’re so excited to have them out in the city and I think it’s going to be a really cool way to get the city united and helping each other out… It’s such an easy way to do it, sometimes there are things you want to do and people you want to help but you just don’t know who that is. This is such a good way to give,” says Steed.

The Giving Machines will be stationed in Southcentre Mall, with a grand opening event planned for Nov. 29. It’ll include a ribbon-cutting ceremony with Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek in attendance.

The machines will remain there until the end of December.

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