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'Giving Machines' raise $625,000, 'exceeding expectations' in first-year test run

Posted at 9:43 PM, Jan 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-02 20:01:13-05

DENVER — It has been a successful holiday season for the Giving Machines located in downtown Denver.

They look like vending machines; you swipe your credit card, look through the glass to pick an item; and then you choose. But it’s not candy or a toy you’re choosing -- it's a donation to a charity.

The machines were placed at the 16h Street Mall in early December.

The “items” inside can be purchased for a few dollars or a few hundred dollars, and include a blanket for the homeless, three meals for the hungry, a bar of soap, 10 days of groceries, three chickens, or more.

The idea came from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Craig McIlroy, with the church, says this was a test-run in Denver and the city passed with flying colors — tripling the expected donations.

“It’s really a reminder of what a giving city Denver is,” McIlroy says.

As of Dec. 31, total donations sat at $625,000. McIlroy is hopeful they will top out at $700,000 when the organization determines the final total on Monday, Jan. 6.

Six nonprofits were chosen to be the recipients of the Giving Machines donations:

Four local charities:
Black Child Development Institute of Denver
– Focusing on education, health and literacy
Catholic Charities of Denver
– Providing valuable family support services
Mile High Ministries
– Serving families transitioning out of homelessness
Rose Andom Center
– Assisting domestic violence victims
Two international charities:
Water for People
– Supplying safe water and sanitation for 4 million people in 9 countries
CWS Global
– Feeding the hungry and assisting the vulnerable around the world

Eleanor Allen is the CEO at Water for People, which provides water and sanitation services around the world to those who do not have them. She says her group will be receiving around $180,000.

“That’s enough to provide full services to a community of 3,000 people forever. So it’s a big deal,” Allen says.

Donations sizes can range from $3-$300. Organizers say they received about 24,000 donations.

Fifty-thousand dollars of those donations will be going to the Rose Andom Center, giving shelter and services to domestic violence victims.

“Participating in the giving machines has been such a great opportunity and really helps us have some financial security,” says Margaret Abrams, Executive Director, Rose Andom Center.

The machines will be removed Friday morning and will be taking donations until then.

Gary Brode
Multimedia Journalist

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