The UK’s first vending machine designed specifically for homeless people will launch just in time for Christmas.
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 concept comes from the charity Action Hunger, whose mission is to alleviate poverty and hardship amongst the homeless.
“Action Hunger is committed to alleviating poverty and hardship amongst the homeless. We install vending machines that provide free food and clothing in key locations of cities across the United Kingdom — and beyond.”
“At the most elementary level, Action Hunger’s machines provide access for the most vulnerable in our society to satiate the most basic of needs — that of sustenance.”
Food is received from supermarkets, charities, and local shops with excess produce. We also purchase additional items such as socks and sanitary towels.
Volunteers distribute the food and items across our network of vending machines on a daily basis.
Those in need access the machines using a special key card.
Action Hunger says the key cards are programmed to permit up to three items being vended per day and participants will need to check into the local outreach center at least once a week in order to keep using it.
Action Hunger plans to install vending machines for the homeless across the United States from the start of next year with sites earmarked in Seattle, New York City and LA.