CBS Local — A British charity that has designed a special vending machine that dispenses goods to the homeless is bringing their creation to the United States in 2018.
Action Hunger unveiled their new machine in a Nottingham shopping center on Dec. 19. The unique invention is believed to be the first vending machine tailored specifically to the needs of the homeless. According to the charity, the free dispenser provides essential items like food, water, and even clothing to people with no place to go at night.
“While other organizations can offer empathy, human contact and counselling… we solely provide unmanned vending machines. Our aim is to… [ensure] that help is always available,” a spokesperson for Action Hunger said, via Design Week. The machines also reportedly provide towels, toothbrushes, and antibacterial soaps for people in need.
“We’ll be installing machines in the United States from February 2018,” the charity’s founder, Huzaifah Khaled told Digital Trends. Action Hunger is reportedly targeting America’s largest homeless population centers, with New York scheduled to receive the first vending machine, followed by Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle.
To avoid abuse of their invention, the British group has designed the machines to work using a special key card that the homeless will be able to obtain from local outreach shelters in each community. The cards reportedly allow users to withdraw only three items a day to avoid people from growing dependent on the free machines.
“We want our low-cost solution to complement other services that are available, as engagement with professionals and local support services is instrumental to breaking the cycle of homelessness,” the group told reporters for The Guardian.