Vending Machine Dispenses Essentials To UK's Homeless

By on

NCSS-9 Word Search
Photo Credit: Action Hunger

At first sight, Action Hunger’s bright orange and white vending machine at the entrance of the Sussex Street subway in Nottingham, UK, appears like any other. However, look closer, and you will realize that the wide range of products inside have no price. That’s because the goods are not to satiate commuter cravings but to provide the area’s homeless with free and easy access to essentials like socks, toothbrushes, fresh fruit, energy bars, and water.

Huzaifah Khaled, the nonprofit’s founder, came up with the idea after talking to the many homeless people he befriended during his daily train commute from Nottingham to Cambridge University, where he was pursuing his doctoral degree. “I always stopped to talk, often with a coffee or meal in hand,” he says. “I developed an acute understanding of their needs, and learned that even access to necessities like food and water was sporadic and oftentimes cumbersome . . . I realized that there had to be a more effective way of at least ensuring the bare necessities were always available.”

Photo Credit: Action Hunger

To access the goods, the person first has to obtain an electronic card from The Friary, a day center for the homeless that has been in operation for over 30 years. To ensure everyone gets a fair share, each cardholder is allowed only three items of their choice a day. To continue receiving the benefit, he/she has to check in with a predetermined partner organization every week. Failure to do so invalidates the electronic card. While that may sound harsh, Khaled says, “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.”

The machine is restocked daily by volunteers, who also keep track of the most popular items. Fifty percent of the food is donated by FairShare, a charity which distributes supermarket surplus, while the rest is obtained from local restaurants. The requests for non-food items are fulfilled with donations received from organizations and individuals. A partnership with delivery service UberEats, ensures that the items that need to be replenished are delivered to the vending machine’s location on a timely basis.

Image Credit: John E Lightbody, Design for the digital age via slideshare)

Though it has only been a few months since the machine was installed in December 2017, the early data and feedback on this unusual strategy to help the needy have been extremely encouraging. Khaled next plans to roll out the machines to other locations within the UK, as well as four US cities — New York, San Francisco, Seattle, and Los Angeles!


Generate citations in MLA, APA & Chicago formats for this article.

VocabularyPlay Game


Reading Comprehension (11 questions)

  1. Where is Action Hunger’s vending machine located?
  2. What is the vending machine’s purpose?

Critical Thinking Challenge

Why is finding someone to deliver products in a timely manner as...


Vocabulary in Context

“That’s because the goods are not to  satiate  commuter cravings, but to provide the area’s homeless, free and easy access to essentials like socks,...

Sign in to use your custom avatar.
  • -_- feeed the pSunday, November 18, 2018 at 2:57 pm
    if only there where more of these in the world
    • fgdtyftyfuyThursday, November 15, 2018 at 3:24 pm
      very cool good for homeless
      • best person lolFriday, November 2, 2018 at 1:20 pm
        This is awesome! You shouldn't give a homeless person money only because they could use it for bad things.
        • News 9Friday, November 2, 2018 at 9:18 am
          nobody cares there are just to lazy to get a job
          • Andy Firestone☠Wednesday, August 29, 2018 at 4:58 pm
            • mrmars06
              mrmars06Wednesday, August 29, 2018 at 4:22 pm
              Comment #SAVETHEPOOR if u agree!!! and follow me!!!
              • mrmars06
                mrmars06Wednesday, August 29, 2018 at 4:21 pm
                Do they get it for free?? That would be cool
                • unicornMonday, August 20, 2018 at 9:52 am
                  awwww so sad
                  • bunnieicecream
                    bunnieicecreamMonday, August 6, 2018 at 7:54 am
                    I really like this process,I wish I could help
                    • dolbit0123
                      dolbit0123Thursday, August 2, 2018 at 9:37 am
                      It is amazing how volunteers make a free vending machines for the homeless. That is so generous of them.
                      • ajg15
                        ajg15Sunday, August 5, 2018 at 7:13 pm
                        I agree, the volunteers are very generous

                      Recent Comments

                      Unikitten wrote:

                      Stan Lee is like the P.T Barnum ...
                      Remembering Marvel Comics Legend...

                      Anthony omega wrote:

                      Watch the video
                      Golden Retriever Lives Up To Her...

                      SOMMES wrote:

                      holy smokes. thats crazy i could...
                      Video Of The Week — Chinese Stud...

                      Our Apps and Plugins