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After feasting to excess on Thanksgiving Day, millions of Americans will shop to excess on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Ark Regional Services, 1150 N. Third St., is asking Laramigos to take the spirit of giving one step further and participate in #GivingTuesday, Ark Development Manager Ruby Seidl said.

“We’re hosting a locational event to involve the community as a whole,” Seidl said. “People can come, give, enjoy hot chocolate and spread the holiday cheer. It’s one thing to send a donation online, but I think there’s a real experience to give in person.”

Established in 1963, Ark Regional Services supports and serves individuals with intellectual disabilities from school age through adulthood, a media release states. Ark’s services include adult day services, community integration services, residential services, supported living, equine assisted learning, therapeutic riding and community employment. In addition, Ark’s Creative Arts and Education Program provides its clients with language arts, literacy, and fine and performing arts services.

Ark Vice President of Community Resources Ami Egge said the nonprofit organization is primarily funded by the Medicaid Home and Community waiver and federal grants, but the money provided by these programs doesn’t cover all of Ark’s costs, so the organization relies on community support as well.

“The people our donors are helping are their neighbors,” Egge said.

Seidl said donors would be helping pay staff costs, supplies and funding Ark’s arena.

“We couldn’t do this without the help of the community,” she said. “And, the event is a real chance to see what and where we are as well as engage with our staff.”

#GivingTuesday was created in 2012 through a partnership between the United Nations Foundation and 92nd Street Y, a cultural and community center in New York City, according to the UN Foundation website.

The initiative was designed to change the national dialogue about giving and mobilize an opening day for charitable giving and volunteer support for causes large and small, the UN website states.

Ark has participated in #GivingTuesday previously, but Seidl said the organization did not participate in 2017. This year’s event will be the first to occur on-location, rather than a digital campaign, she added.

Dubbed the “Drive through Donation,” Ark’s fundraising event was created to allow donors to drive through the organization’s parking lot, make a donation and grab a cup of coffee and donut.

“We’re asking for a $2 donation, and our hope is that 2,000 people will participate,” Seidl said.

Bringing philanthropy into the 21st century, Ark will set out digital “dip jars,” an electronic device which charges a preset amount to a credit or debit card, Egge said.

“It’s quick and easy,” she explained. “There’s no info to enter, you just dip in your card and your donation is made.”

Sliding a debit card into a white, plastic device the size of a kitchen appliance, Seidl demonstrated how the machine worked. Once the charge was made, blue lights raced across the top of the machine as bells chimed.

“We want to make giving easy, and fun,” she said.

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