Anonymous Donors Pay Off Layaway Bills At Janesville Kmart

Several Families Surprised By Secret Generosity

JANESVILLE, Wis. - A national trend of anonymous donors paying off layaway bills at Kmart stores has also taken place at a Rock County store location.

Jennifer Maxted wouldn't have been able to provide the same type of Christmas for her three girls without the amazing generosity shown when a stranger paid off her balance.

"I didn't realize two weeks ago when I made my payment the pickup date the layaway was going until Jan. 17, and I didn't know that," said Jennifer Maxted. "So I had this big bill to pay to get their presents off layaway before Christmas."

The single mom said tough times forced her to put her holiday gifts on layaway at the Janesville Kmart.

"I cried," said Maxted. "I was shocked because I didn't know people did that."

"This is the best response we've ever had. The K-mart layaway angels have been around for more than 10 years," said store manager Jerry St. Marie. "I'm just glad to see it happening here."

St. Marie said the anonymous angels have paid off more than $1,000 in merchandise this holiday season.

"Well a lot of people remember the old days when their mom had layaways at Kmart, and they remember that and they want to take care of other people's layaways who are having a hard time," St. Marie said.

He said 1,500 to 2,000 people use their layaway program to buy gifts for the holiday.

The angels usually ask to help families saving up to buy toys and clothes for their kids.

Maxted said she wishes she could thank her angel in person for saving her family's Christmas.

"I have no idea how I was chosen, but I am very thankful, very, very thankful."

The Rockford store had an anonymous donor pay off 24 layaways on Tuesday at a price tag of $5,000, St. Marie said.

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