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Despite record shopping numbers and a slow economy, the first annual Giving Tuesday is being embraced by Valley charities.

Giving Tuesday encourages shoppers -- who dropped billions of dollars of the Thanksgiving holiday -- to donate funds to their favorite charity on the Tuesday following the holiday. It began in New York, but several Arizona non-profits are participating, including Southwest Human Development, a charity that seeks to help develop children with disabilities.

"We figured it would be a good way to get the message out to really everybody in the Phoenix metro area about taking a moment after all the craziness of Black Friday and Cyber Monday to kind of embrace the spirit of the season and find a local community charity to give back to and make an impact," said Kim Carkhuff with SWHD.

Carkhuff said Giving Tuesday is a message charities promote year round, but efforts are focused as the holiday shopping season kicks off.

"We would hope that somewhere in that people can find it in their hearts to give back to the charity of their choice," she said.

While some would see the big spending weekend and still recovering economy as two massive blockades to donations, Carkhuff said that is not the case.

"I think that people are always looking for a way to give back in a way that's meaningful and to do something that's meaningful in their community," she said. "Even though times have gotten tougher, donors have gotten even more committed to the causes they are really passionate about and really have become a lot smarter about where there money is going."

Carkhuff said her charity has seen a rise in donors asking where their funds are going and that the onus is on the charity to keep donors informed.

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To donate to Southwest Human Development, go to swhd.org

Karie & Chuck,

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