Denver gives a wonderful gift this holiday season. 

Denverites and other generous donors really show what the spirit of the holiday season is all about. Thanks to all who donated to the Giving Machines, located at Writer Square, over $625,000 was raised for local, national, and international charities. It exceeded the expectations of the project, but we here in Denver had no doubt that we would show up to help others.

This was the first year that Denver hosted the Giving Machines, a project offered by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Donors had only to swipe a credit card and choose an item needed by a charity of their choice, all ranging in price from $3 to $300. Items including meals, soap, groceries, livestock to help people start small businesses or feed their families, blankets, and even a "toilet worm" that ensured proper waste management were available for purchase. The church covered all overhead and fees, so 100 percent of the donations went to the charities. 

The machines were at Writer Square from Nov. 26, 2019, through New Year’s Day. By December 21, they had raised more than $300,000, and the number just kept growing by leaps and bounds from there. 

"We can't believe the outpouring of support for the Giving Machines! Thank you to everyone who has visited." tweeted Water for People, a charity that was represented by the Giving Machines. 

While total donations of all the machines across the world are still to be announced, though as of December 19, more than $3 million had been collected from the 10 Giving Machine locations across the world. That exceeds 2018's collection of $2,309,844 in donations, which paid for, among much more, 702,527 meals, 19,640 chickens, 3,703 polio vaccines, and 2,312 resuscitation kits for babies.

Did you have a chance to stop by the Giving Machines? What do you think about vending machines for charitable donations? Let us know in the comments below!