(Natural News) Many of us can simply go to the store when we run out of essentials and stock up. Even the store being closed isn't an obstacle; we can even go online and have items delivered to our doorstep, whether it's groceries or a $1,000 smartphone. While homeless people can't dream of such luxuries, some of them will soon be able to get round-the-clock access to basic necessities.
A U.K. charity known as Action Hunger is currently testing out vending machines that will offer essentials to the homeless. According to Action Hunger's founder, Huzaifah Khaled, these vending machines will offer 24-hour access to essential items such as toothbrushes and toothpaste, antibacterial lotion, socks, gloves, energy bars, fresh fruit, water, sandwiches, foil blankets, and sanitary towels.
The fresh food for the machines is being provided by redistribution organizations, while the non-perishable goods are donations. Volunteers will restock the machines daily, and Khaled plans to adjust the offerings over time according to demand.
Homeless must register to gain access
How will they ensure access is limited only to those who are truly in need? Action Hunger will be issuing special key cards through partner organizations that work with local outreach centers and homeless shelters in individual cities.
Of course, it remains to be seen how many homeless people would be willing to register for the program and what personal data they will need to provide. Moreover, checking in with a regular homeless shelter every week is required in order for them to keep the key card active. Khaled believes that regular contact with shelters is an essential part of ending homelessness, and he said he spent the past year working with services for the homeless to make his concept a reality.
Cameras will monitor the machines to make sure they are not abused, and chips in the key cards will enable them to be remotely blocked if they are stolen or lost.
People will be limited to just three items per day. Action Hunger has set that cap in hopes of finding a happy medium between helping people and preventing them from becoming too reliant on the machines.