UK’s Vending Machines for Homeless to Come to U.S. in 2018

Vending machines for the homeless debuted in the U.K. on Tuesday, and the charity plans to bring the machines—which dispense a variety of essentials from socks to fresh fruit—to the U.S. next year. 

The vending machines debuted in Nottingham, where their inventor, 29-year-old Huzaifah Khaled lives, according to The Guardian. The charity Action Hunger, which he founded, installed the first machine on Tuesday. Action Hunger plans to bring its first U.S. machine to New York in February, and hopes to expand to locations in Seattle, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

“We selected New York as it’s one of the cities that has a particularly virulent issue with homelessness—it’s one of the cities with the largest numbers of people experiencing homelessness in America,” Khaled told Newsweek in an email.

In Nottingham, local grocery stores and charities donate extra food to stock the machines, and then volunteers will restock them. For their American machines, the charity has partnered with New York non-profit Rescuing Leftover Cuisine to supply items in the vending machine, and are also in talks with Tyson Foods, Khaled said.

The machines work via a key card system, so not just anyone has access to the goods inside. Action Hunger partner organizations distribute the cards to homeless people who must check in once a week so that their cards continue working. Users are allowed to take only three items each day in an effort to limit their dependence on the machines.

Khaled told The Guardian that installing the machines in train stations would be a safe and ideal solution. The Nottingham vending machine is located outside of a shopping mall.

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SOURCE: Newsweek, Grace Guarnieri