Nottingham-based homelessness charity Action Hunger has just revealed plans to launch a free-to-use vending machine for homeless people, utilising key cards.
100 homeless people will be given a key card that can be used with the machine, letting them take three free items each day. The machine itself will be stocked with things like fresh fruit, sanitary towels, socks, energy bars, and sandwiches. It will be accessible 24/7 under the canopy outside the back entrance of Broadmarsh shopping centre from the start of December.
The machine is part of a trial that the charity plans to expand nationwide. There are plans to install a machine in Manchester in January, followed by Liverpool and Birmingham, but trustee Huzaifah Khaled emphasised that those plans depend on what happens with the Nottingham machine. Action Hunger also has plans to install the machines in the US next year, with sites in New York, Seattle, and LA.
100 of the traceable keycards will be dropped off at The Friary, an outreach centre in West Bridgford. Staff will then hand them out at their own discretion, with priority given to rough sleepers. Friary CEO, Sam Crawford, said:
"We will be prioritising rough sleepers. ‘Not everyone who visits us is a rough sleeper, some are homeless in other ways such as those in temporary accommodation, so that would be who we would prioritise. It’s an innovative way in which food and provisions can be made available out of hours to people in need."
Anyone with a card will need to keep checking in at The Friary once a week if they want to keep using it, however. 50 per cent of the machine's stock will come from Action Hunger itself, while the other half will come from supermarket surplus distribution charity FareShare. [Nottingham Post]