SALT LAKE CITY — Vending machines designed to accept charitable contributions placed by the Mormon church at Temple Square in downtown Salt Lake City have brought in nearly $500,000 since Dec. 1.

The four machines allow visitors to the square to donate money to charities that purchase food, water or provide health or eye care in developing countries and the Utah Food Bank.

A spokesman for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints tells the Deseret News that nearly 24,000 donations have been made through the machines. Spokesman Daniel Woodruff said Friday that about $469,000 in donations had been logged.

The unusual vending machines were temporarily placed to collect donations to kick off the church’s “Light the World” initiative, which runs until Christmas Day.

Information from: Deseret News,

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