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Denver Giving Machine Collects More Than $625,000 For Local Charities

DENVER (CBS4) - Giving back is getting easier. A month-long campaign in Denver has proven the easier you make giving, the more people will participate.

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"We walk up to the machine and in just a few seconds, a push of the button and you swipe your card and you're done. How great is that?" said Alana Reeb.

Reeb is talking about Denver's Giving Machines. It's an international effort put on by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which covers machine costs, administrative fees and other overhead.

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Each year during the holidays, cities around the world place a giving machine in a central location. This December was the first time Denver had its very own giving machine.

The machines in Denver, like other locations, were put in place Dec. 2nd.  Strategically located in Writer Square at the 16th Street Mall, the machines have seen constant traffic.

With the swipe of a card, people can donate blankets, food, water and other personal items. You can help a family with the purchase of chickens. Three chickens will cost you $18.

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One of the most popular items? A literal worm.

"Definitely this 'Tiger Worm Toilet'. I've never heard of it until it I came here but basically, you put it into the sewage system and it cleans everything out so people can keep going to the bathroom!" said Caroline Burgoine, a volunteer at Denver's Giving Machine.

Burgoine never gets tired of showing people how the machines work.

"It's been so cool. There are people who just walk down by the streets of Denver who just wanna come and help and it kind of draws them into see that they can help in a different kind of way. It's so cool. They just wanna help. They just wanna love people," she said.

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Alana Reeb, who came with her daughter, could hardly summarize what it meant to be able to contribute in such a meaningful way.

"We need more of that. We really need more of that. If we can just sacrifice one percent of our time? And this is just a small thing to do to help so many people locally and worldwide," Reeb said, wiping tears away.

Each donation comes with information about the charity it will benefit. There are many national, international and local ways to help. For Denver, one of the local charities that benefits is Mile High Ministries, which helps people transitioning out of homelessness.

Other local charities that you can donate to include: Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Denver, Rose Andom Center, Black Child Development Institute, Mile High Ministries, Water for People and CWS Global.

The Denver Giving Machine has collected more than $625,000. Across the world, $6 million has been donated across 10 Giving Machine sites.

The machines will be in Writer Square at 16th and Lawrence until Friday morning and are open 24/7.

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