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West Sacramento News-Ledger

'There is No Gift Without a Giver'

Dec 01, 2022 12:00AM ● By Story and photos by Shaun Holkko, assistant editor

Dignitaries pictured from left to right: Scott Stewart, Lincoln Stake president; Dr. John Jackson, William Jessup University president; Sheikh Yasir Khan, Al-Misbaah founder; Dow Wilson, Area 70 The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) elder; and Jay Pimentel, LDS Church area communication director; at the Sacramento Giving Machine ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday, November 30 at the Westfield Galleria at Roseville.

There is No Gift Without a Giver [4 Images] Click Any Image To Expand

Providing Necessities for the Less Fortunate

ROSEVILLE, CA (MPG) – Each holiday season, consumers shop for the best gifts to give their loved ones for Christmas. Now this year, there is a new and easy way to give to those who are less fortunate: the “Light the World” Giving Machine.

The Giving Machine is sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS Church) and is located at the Westfield Galleria at Roseville. Organizers for the machine held a grand opening ribbon cutting ceremony at the mall on Wednesday, November 30.

“The machines don’t do the giving, they are simply the facilitators for your giving,” said Jay Pimentel, LDS Church area communication director and the ceremony’s host. “These machines are set up here, and we set them up a few days ago to make sure they were up and running and working, and just in those few days there have already been 1,579 donations with people just walking by.”

An entertaining part of the ceremony was when Pimentel explained how to use the machine. One member of the audience, dressed in old school clothing to portray fictional character Ebenezer Scrooge, did not understand the purpose of the machine.

Following some explanation from Pimentel and two other old-time characters, Mr. Scrooge became one of the biggest advocates of the giving machine that you could find at the galleria.

RELATED: Giving Machine: the Spirit of Christmas

According to Pimentel, in 2021, California’s giving machine was in Oakland and raised over $15 million. The LDS Church covers the administrative costs like credit card processing and operating fees. The giving machine in Roseville benefits five non-profit organizations that were represented Wednesday: the Placer Food Bank, H.A.R.T, Al-Misbaah, Catholic Charities and CSW.

“We are a Feeding America food bank. I know the name doesn’t imply that, but we cover Placer, El Dorado and Nevada County,” said Dave Martinez, executive director of the Placer Food Bank. “Currently we serve well over 100,000 individuals a month. This giving machine is very important for us this year. We have to deal with fires, snow, plus just how people are impacted day to day with the food cost. It’s really hurting our middle class.”

Each non-profit spoke about their organization and then selected from the machine an item to be donated to their respective causes. Other dignitaries in attendance included Roseville Mayor Krista Bernasconi, Rocklin Mayor Bill Haldin and Loomis Mayor Jennifer Knisley.

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William Jessup University President Dr. John Jackson was one of the last speakers and admitted to being an “absolute Scrooge” and disliking Christmas. Jackson said this was the case because he was young, newly married and “had no money.”

“Every year I felt the stress of being able to find gifts at Christmas and every year I found myself in a really bad mood,” Jackson recalled. “The worst part about this whole story is during that time I was a pastor, so I was a pastor Scrooge.

“I was supposed to put on a bright shiny face and celebrate Christmas… but I was angry and frustrated because every single Christmas we were young, poor and struggling to buy gifts and that was a frustrating experience.”

When did things change? When Jackson and his wife welcomed their first child into the world and he “began to see Christmas through the eyes of awe and wonder.” That’s when his perspective shifted.

“The truth is, Christmas is really not ultimately only about the gift, it starts with the giver,” Jackson explained. “If the heart of the giver is right then the meaning of the gift gets magnified. You’re never more like God then when you’re giving. There is no gift without a giver.”

The Giving Machines will be open at the galleria until January 2.

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