Making Christmas happier for 3 families

I was given a receipt for my layaway payment today. Paula was pretty sure the recipient was a newly single father.

As you know I am very in to helping others any way I can. I have a friend who takes it up a notch.

He mentioned on Facebook the other day that he read an article in USA Today about Layaway Angels. If you go to Toys R Us and pay off someone’s layaway balance Toys R Us will donate $200 to Toys for Tots. It’s a win-win-win!

My friend James went to a Toys R Us in Tucson and and asked the clerk what layaway had been there the longest. There was one from October with a $22 balance. He paid it and got to hear the clerk call the woman to tell her to pick up her toys. He could overhear the woman on the other end yelling for joy.

This is also happening at Kmart and Walmart (and I am sure other retailers as well).

From the USA Today article: Lisa Dietlin, a Chicago philanthropic adviser and author, says many Americans “are turning away from the traditional commercialism of the holidays,” and are “instead asking, ‘How can I help those in need?'”

This never occurred to me. And I just think it is great.

I am in Tucson right now visiting family for the holidays. My in-laws are here as well.

Marilyn (Curt’s mom) and I attended a Gentle/Restorative Yoga class at Hilda’s yoga studio, Mindful Yoga Studio. It was a treat for Marilyn as it was her first Restorative class.

After class I told Marilyn of my Toys R Us plan and asked if she was willing to brave the chaos and crowds to help some people.

I personally hate Toys R Us and try not to shop there if I can help it. And if you know me you know I hate crowds and when I bought Christmas presents (we mostly focus on charities at Christmastime) I tried to get it all done before Thanksgiving or just via online shopping.

We headed to the closest Toys R Us. We walked into the busy store and asked about paying off any layaways. Sadly we were told that any layaways were canceled on December 16, which I found odd since the article came out in the past couple of days.

We weren’t too discouraged and headed to the closest Kmart. We walked in and asked someone at customer service if we could pay off some layaways. She seemed giddy about our Secret Santa and told us to head to the layaway section and ask for Paula.

Paula helped us find three families who had put  items on layaway, which were definitely for children. (We weren’t going to pay off someone’s big screen TV.) One appeared to be a newly single father, which I paid off. Marilyn paid off two other layaway balances for two other families.

Paula was so grateful we took this upon ourselves. She mentioned someone else was in earlier doing the same thing. Paula also mentioned that when she was much younger and having a hard time someone did the same thing for her and her family.

Paula told us the families would be called tonight and told that a Secret Santa paid off their layaway balance and they could come and get their items.

As Marilyn and I walked away I thanked Marilyn for participating with me and gave her a hug.

Now that’s what Christmas is about.

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