Seven local families received a holiday surprise. The gifts they had put on layaway at a Baltimore Kmart were all paid off by a professional basketball player.
“They just said to come to Kmart tomorrow about your layaway and I didn't know it was this,” said Shanna Peterson, a Kmart shopper.
The gifts she and several others put aside to gradually pay off were made available on Tuesday and at no cost.
“We come up with a story that they're in a raffle and they don't really know what's going on and then when they see us and they see our shirts I guess the ideas start coming together and you see they start tearing up. They're just so excited, I mean how would you feel if someone just took care of all the stuff you've been trying to pay off throughout the year for your family,” said Joshua Grana, a volunteer with the non-profit organization Pay Away the Layaway.
Baltimore native and Sacramento Kings forward Rudy Gay partnered with the organization to give away $2,500 worth of presents.
“It just means a lot, it really does. It means a lot,” Sharnicka Lee said.
“We just hope that the families have a great Christmas holiday this year without the stress of not knowing if your layaway is going to be paid off or working too hard to get them paid off,” said Yozmin Gay, the vice-president of philanthropy for the Rudy Gay Flight22 Foundation.
From a TV to baby items and clothing, the shoppers were given gifts that may have not otherwise made it under the tree in time.
“Awesome. This is just such a blessing because this stuff is for my grand babies. I didn't have the money to get their layaway out, they don't have pajamas, so I'm about to cry,” Tonia McCoy said.
Gay said it was an overwhelming feeling being able to pay it forward by helping neighbors afford presents for their families.
“Nothing but God. He will do it every time. And I'm just so grateful that my babies can have their pajamas,” McCoy said.
Kmart also gave the shoppers gift cards.
If you'd like to be a "layaway angel" you can donate through Pay Away the Layaway online.
If you’re unable to donate this year, the organization is asking that anyone share their message on social media to spread the word and to make sure no child goes without presents this holiday season.