A Great Way To Truly Give Back And Help A Family Out This Season
So if you have followed me at all over the last few years, then you probably know that each year at this time my family has a holiday tradition that we have begun sharing.
It all started with my wife and I deciding to show our kids what the “true meaning” of the season was. We thought about different things that we could do with our young daughter that would help her to understand the value of helping others.
So, back in 2010 we started taking her and my son to Sears, Toys-R-Us, and K-Mart each year to payoff layaways for other people – anonymous.
We would simply go to the service counter, ask for help (most of the time it requires a manager), have them pull a list of layaway purchases that were still open, and then we would look specifically for layaways that had items on them such as toys, children’s clothes, and things that we could quickly identify were most likely Christmas presents for children.
Some of the layaways were “open” with outstanding balances of $50 or less and others were $200 – $500….and everything in between.
We’d then have our kids select the ones that they wanted to payoff, give them the money, and they would hand it over to the manager of the store to complete the purchase.
We knew that in the next few minutes someone’s day was about to get much, much brighter.
Two years ago, we stuck around for a few minutes and watched as the manager of the Toys-R-Us began making phone calls to these unsuspecting mothers and fathers to let them know that their bill was paid in full, they now owed nothing, and they could come in and pickup their children’s Christmas presents. We could literally hear one woman screaming into the phone like she had just won the lottery. ?
Needless to say, this has been an amazing experience for our kids and they now look forward to it each year.
Our family is very fortunate because we have the ability to pay several of these off each year. But even if you could only afford to pay off $25.oo for someone – I would encourage you to do it! It is one of the most selfless things you can do and it is truly impactful in someone’s life.
You’re simply giving them hope and letting them know that in a world of craziness, there are still good people out there.
What that does to these kids, I can only hope, is amazing as well.
HOW THIS IDEA HAS PROGRESSED
I believe so deeply, that in the past we have included $500 in each of our employee’s pay checks to go do this in their own communities. In addition, I asked our entire REWW Community – everyone that read our Facebook posts, our Twitter feed, our emails, and our blog to go do the same – regardless of whether it was one, two, three, or ten payoffs.
We said – just go do it.
I also asked that everyone that did it to please go and post it on all of their social media using he hashtag #1000layaways to create awareness and to see if we could help over 1000 families this year by simply sharing the message.
The response was overwhelming. We had people from every corner of the country posting, sharing, paying off layaways, being featured on the news and in their local papers….it was awesome.
THIS YEAR WE SIMPLY WANT YOU TO DO THE SAME.
- Go and pay off a layaway for someone – do it this weekend. (Don’t wait – most stores will cutoff by the 15th of December for Christmas).
- Post a picture of yourself, your kids, the store…whatever – to your social media accounts using the hashtag #1000layaways and tagging me (so we can track how viral the campaign goes)
- Tell your friends, your family, and everyone you know to do the same
- If the average layaway is $50 and we pay off 1,000 – that’s $50,000 in gifts, clothes, toys, diapers, baby food, and holiday cheer that will truly make 1,000 family’s lives a lot better this year.
This campaign is all about dignity – not about recognition.
When you pay a parent’s layaway off anonymously – they get to be the hero. The parents get to “come through on the promise” of Christmas to their kids. Their kids get to light up and believe…Their kids still get to believe in Santa Claus and remain innocent and hopeful.
That’s what this is about.
I hope you’ll join us or share the word.
LET’S DO THIS!!!
(NOTE: Here are the cutoffs for paying them off at Wal-Mart (12/12) and Toys-R-Us (12/14)