"Wrapping for a Cause" helps Eastern Iowans who use the Arc's disability services

Dakota Muters has autism and participates in the Arc of East Central Iowa's many programs. His mother, Karen, says he has developed many relationship skills from the programs. (CBS2/FOX28)

Starting Friday, Dec. 1, volunteers will be in the Lindale Mall Food Court wrapping gifts for the Arc of East Central Iowa. The Arc provides services to people with disabilities and serves over 800 families in Eastern Iowa.

The wrapping hours are Monday through Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., and on Sundays from 11:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. On Christmas Eve, it will have special hours -- 9:00 a.m. 3:00 p.m.

The gift wrapping is priced by size. The wrapping station has differently-sized boxes available. They also custom-wrap large gifts, and over the 14 years they've been doing this have wrapped everything from large luggage to a desk chair, to even a piano keyboard. They accept credit cards, and you do not have to buy your gifts at the mall in order to have them wrapped--you can bring gifts from home.

Over two hundred volunteers make this happen. To volunteer or to find out more about the Arc's services, visit here.

Nineteen-year-old Dakota Muters is a loving son and a friend to many, and his Mom, Karen, says he’s a good helper at home. She says that Dakota, who has autism, has developed his relationship skills from the services at the Arc of East Central Iowa, which integrate him into a community.

"There are a lot of capabilities, that if they weren’t in the community they would never be able to develop these capabilities," said Karen.

Dakota goes to an Arc program called “Choice” where he spends time with others with special needs, participating in after-school and evening activities. Dakota says he likes hanging out with friends, cooking, making crafts, and going to the library.

Including Dakota, Karen Muters has 14 children, and 11 are adopted. Nine of them, she says, have used or continue to use services from the Arc, from the in-home respite care, to daycare, to the adult dayhabilitation program. She says that she doesn’t know what her family would do without it.

"They would be very lonely," said Karen. "I would be very boggled by what to do with all of them. They all have different needs and different ideas of what they want to do at different times."

Every day from now until Christmas Eve, by getting your holiday gifts wrapped at Lindale Mall, you can help support the Arc, because wrapping up a present nicely in a bow not only brings a great gift to someone you love--it brings a gift to Dakotah and Karen.

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