MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. --- Christmas came early for a few shoppers at the Burlington Coat Factory in Middletown on Thursday. Layaway Angels from the non-profit Pay Away the Layaway took care of items on hold. One of those recipients was Myra Ward.
"He said 'Go up there, you have a cart waiting on you with your name on it,' " Myra Ward said. "I said, 'What kind of cart?' and I kept looking at it and it was my stuff."
Pay Away the Layaway was founded by Goshen High School alumnus Lee Karchawer. Goshen High School senior Tom Giordano participated for the second year, helping the charity with the surprises.
“I love Christmas, and it’s something [where] I can bring joy to peoples' families for the holidays," Giordano said. "There's nothing better than that."
The charity covered the layaway costs for 20 families, bringing the surprise totals to $1,200. The store managers called families to the store for an in-store event. When they arrived, volunteers let them know that they would be paying off their layaway bills.
“I see everybody standing here and I'm like, 'OK, what's going on?' and boom, we got touched by an angel,” said recipient Warren Newsome. “I don’t even know what I'm feeling right now. I'm overjoyed, I'm happy, I really appreciate it. It came at a good time."
Newsome's cart was filled with gifts for his 2-year-old-son Warren Jr., and he says with the generous gift, he will be able to use the money elsewhere.
“[It] helped me to get more stuff to put under the tree before Christmas,” Newsome said.
To find out how you can help make a donation to pay off someone's layaway, visit PayAwaytheLayaway.org.