Goodwill Gone Viral: Anonymous Donors Paying Balances on Kmart Layaways Across the Country

Dollars & Sense on 12.16.11
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As many families are struggling to have a Christmas at all this year, more and more people have turned to layaway so that they can spread the cost of Christmas out, but even that doesn't always guarantee they'll be able to put gifts under the tree. However, in the spirit of the season a new trend has been spotted across the country, particularly at the layaway counters in Kmart stores, in which anonymous donors are paying off the layaway balances for struggling families.

According to an Associated Press report, some donors are hanging out by the layaway counters and stepping in as people attempt to make payments while other customers are receiving phone calls from the Kmart stores saying all or most of their bill has been taken care of by an anonymous donor. One woman at an Indianapolis, IN store paid off the bill of as many as 50 customers and then handed out $50 bills to strangers as she headed out the door. She was doing it in memory of her husband who had recently passed away.

Another store in Omaha, NE had someone pay off the layaway accounts of five customers ranging from $50 to $250, and in Missoula, MT a man spent over $1,200 to cover the accounts of six people. Kmart has said they did nothing to initiate the donations, but it seems as people hear of others' goodwill they want to do something similar.

While it's important that we donate to charities that are established who help those who are less fortunate, there are a huge number of families out there that could use the help this holiday season to provide Christmas for their children, but can't be found through charitable groups. No matter how large or how small the amounts have been, they've made an enormous difference to the hard-working families who have benefited from the donation. It's always nice to hear of new and creative ways to give to those in need this holiday season and there is no doubt that the donors in these situations have been just as rewarded as the receivers.

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