The world’s first vending machine which is exclusively for homeless people has been unveiled in a British city letting rough sleepers order food and even SOCKS.
People living on the streets are able to get hold of water, fresh food and warm clothes from the altruistic device.
The machine, which was installed by charity Action Hunger, was unveiled at the Intu Shopping Centre in Broadmarsh, Nottingham, on Tuesday (19/12).
Those in need are able to use it with a special key card given out by the Friary – a drop-in centre for the homeless – but are only able to get hold of three items a day to prevent dependency.
The gadget also dispenses energy bars, crisps, chocolate and sandwiches, as well as socks, sanitary towels, antibacterial lotion, toothbrush and toothpaste and books.
Chris, who is living on the streets in Nottingham, was the first person to use the machine.
He said: “I think it’s a brilliant machine and a brilliant idea.
“If you’ve got no money in the middle of the night, and you need something to eat or drink, or just dry socks.”
The fresh fruit is taken from redistribution organisations who are attempting to reduce food waste, whilst the other items are bought with donations.
The machine, which costs £10,000, will be restocked daily by a team of volunteers.
Organisers hope the device will become the first in a local, national and worldwide chain.
The innovative machine was the brainchild of Huzaifah Khaled, 29, who thought up the idea whilst studying for a PhD in Law.
Huzaifah, who is due to start a full time role at Goldman Sachs in February, said: “We want our low-cost solution to complement other services that are available, as engagement with professionals and local support services is instrumental to breaking the cycle of homelessness.
“All of our users in Nottingham have to check in with the Friary once a week for their cards to continue working.”
He plans to install the next machine in the Arndale Centre in central Manchester, as well as putting one in New York in February and later in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle.
Dr John Doddy, a trustee and founder of Action Hunger, said: “I think it will become iconic and the thing that makes people recognise that homeless people have been brought into the public eye and it will remind people that we can’t ignore them and we can’t sweep them away.
“It’s helping them to live safely, cleanly and humanely on the street.”
Up to 30 more will be put in other cities by the end of next year.