We’ve seen some unique vending machines, from ones bearing fast food to cupcakes, but we’ve never seen a machine that specifically caters to the homeless.
Action Hunger in the U.K. debuted the first homeless vending machine, as it can only be used by the homeless, and contains free food and clothing.
What keeps the non-homeless from gaining access to the Nottingham machine is a special key card that can only be attained at partnering organizations, and are limited to three items a day, according to Fast Company.
In order to keep using the card, one has to check into a partnering facility, such as the Friary in Nottingham, on a weekly basis.
“The idea is that users don’t become dependent on the machines, and are working towards a long-term plan for getting off the streets,” Action Hunger founder Huzaifah Khaled said to Fast Company. “I want our low-cost vending machines to complement other existing services…”
Another important aspect of the machine is helping shelters, as they often have limited help and hours of operation. The machine lets homeless pick up necessary items at their leisure, without full reliance on a shelter.
Action Hunger has received 100 donated machines, and while is starting off in the U.K., a machine is already scheduled to make its way to New York in February, with more making their way to Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle.