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Using Vending Machines To Support Children in Need: An Ingenious Solution by a Young Innovator

A high school student's innovative idea to use proceeds from vending machines to provide local children in need with meals became a reality in Himeji City.



A vending machine at the Bon Marché Shirahama store and its innovator, Miho Ichikawa, in Himeji City, Hyogo Prefecture. (© Sankei by Hiroyuki Kobayashi)

Read the full story on Japan 2 Earth - Using Vending Machines To Support Children in Need: An Ingenious Solution by a Young Innovator

Imagine profits from vending machines on street corners going directly to support feeding children. This idea originated with local high school students in Himeji City of Hyogo Prefecture. As private companies started cooperating in the effort, a system of support utilizing a corporate version of the “hometown tax" scheme was established. 

People can support society easily, without even knowing it, by purchasing a bottled drink. 

Himeji Finds a 'Hometown' in Hokkaido 

Children's cafeterias, or kodomo shokudo, are events or centers that provide free or low-cost meals to children. The kodomo shokudo program targets children who, for various reasons, are unable to get enough to eat or have to eat alone. It plays a major role in combating child poverty and promoting interaction in communities.

The Nozato Hot Children's Cafeteria is held about once a month at Tenrikyo Shikito Church in Himeji. In September 2022, an unfamiliar menu item was added – grilled scallops in butter and soy sauce. 

The "Nozato Hot Children's Cafeteria" held in Himeji City (Photo courtesy of the cafeteria).

The church had received about four kilograms of frozen scallops from Sarufutsu Village in Hokkaido. Church representative Seiichiro Kontani, 37, reported, "When the children are happy, it encourages us in our activities."

vending machines

Scallops were also provided to seven other facilities in Himeji. "The scallops were bought using proceeds from vending machines in our supermarkets," explained Kenji Otsuka, 36, president of Ginbiru-Store Co., which operates 14 Bon Marché supermarkets in the prefecture.

Continue reading the full story on Japan 2 Earth.

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(Read the article in Japanese.)

Author: Hiroyuki Kobayashi


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