Organization sets up vending machine in Muncie to help homeless community

MUNCIE, Ind. – A vending machine outside a Muncie fire station has a much larger meaning. Instead of food, it’s full of necessities to help the homeless community.

“People that don’t even know them care about them,” said Karee Buffin, with Bridges Community Services.

The machine is meant to be a helping hand to anyone who is homeless. If a person needs a blanket, hand warmers or a something as simple as a toothbrush, it’s there for them.

“The hope and the goal and the vision is to get everyone housed and there won’t be anyone on the streets,” said Buffin, with Bridges Community Services.

Buffin is with Bridges Community Services, the group behind the vending machine. Instead of money, it takes tokens. A person can get a handful of tokens by just stopping by the Bridges facility for a quick assessment. On average, the organization helps nearly 2,000 homeless people every year.

“The thing that has really touched me is if someone is offered tokens their first reaction is I know someone who needs this so much worse than I do, and I think that really hits home for me,” said Buffin.

The vending machine has been set up for not even a month and it’s nearby a few shelters. It’s available whenever someone needs something and that might be at a time when other resources may be closed.

“Every time it gets colder, I’m thinking when I go to bed at night, there’s somebody out there who’s cold,” said Buffin.

Everything from the machine, to the tokens, to all the items inside; it’s all donated from the community. It’s all about strangers helping strangers make life just a bit easier.

“I think it makes a difference and gives them hope,” said Buffin.

The hope is to add warmer items as winter approaches and switch contents as the seasons change. If you’re interested in donating items or monetary contributions contact Bridges Community Services at 765-282-3948.