The holidays can be very stressful for parent “Santas”, what with shopping for toys for their children and keeping the toys hidden until Santa visits on Christmas Eve to leave presents for little boys and girls under the tree. Adding to that stress is finding a way to pay for those presents. Layaway programs offer a good way for parents to stretch out the payments over several weeks or even a month or more.
For the past several years, FATE Foundation founders have been playing Layaway Angels for Western North Carolina children and their parents. Each year, they travel to the Waynesville Walmart where they comb through dozens upon dozens of layaway orders, looking for those that include only toys, bicycles, games, baby clothes – no electronics, video games or microwaves, etc. – just orders that are intended for children. Then, they pay off all but a few cents of the order since paying it in full would mean they have to take the order with them. In 2018, they played Layaway Angel for 26 layaway orders.
They do all of this anonymously, not wanting recognition but simply doing it because it’s the right thing to do.
A couple of years ago, however, they met face-to-face with one of the “Santa” parents. A gentleman arrived at Walmart after his wife had asked him to check on their order, since she’d received a text from Walmart saying their layaway was ready for pick up. Knowing they hadn’t paid it off, they assumed there was some mistake and came right down to check. What he discovered was that the FATE Foundation Layaway Angels had paid off all but a few cents of his layaway order and, what’s more, they were still there, working to pay off other layaways. At first, he assumed the couple working with the Walmart employee were paying off their own orders; but, the more he listened while awaiting his turn, the more he realized what was really going on, and he started crying softly. To think that anyone would care enough about his children and family to pay off their layaway, thereby ensuring his children had a very merry Christmas, was extremely emotional. And, for the Layaway Angels, his warm hugs and effusive thanks made their Christmas a very, merry one as well!