Florida police department surprised 26 families this holiday season by paying off their layaway accounts
Tis the season to be jolly – and that means bringing joy to our loved ones by doing a little holiday gift giving.
And sometimes that means putting items on layaway – a strategy leveraged by people when they want to pay off those wonderful gifts over time instead of up front.
But the holiday season got a little jollier for 26 families when they heard that the local police department decided to step in and pay off their layaway accounts – in full.
So with the help of anonymous contributions and donors, the Dade City Police Department paid off over $4,300 on 26 layaway accounts at the Walmart in Dade City. The accounts included items from toys to necessities like towels and sheets and more.
“In Dade City we are blessed to have community partners who have graciously donated funding which allows us to give back to our citizens in a number of ways at Christmas time,” the department wrote on Facebook.
On Dec. 9, Dade City Police Chief James Walters personally called the families to surprise them with the good news that their layaway accounts were now taken care of.
“This morning, Chief James Walters and his staff were able to pay off the layaways being held at the Dade City Walmart. Twenty-six (26) accounts, totaling over $4,300.00, were paid off,” the post continued.
What followed were happy tears, joy, and maybe even a little shock as the good news traveled through the phone and into grateful ears.
“Each call made a lasting memory, not only for the recipients, but the givers, as well”, said Chief Walters.
And it was perfect timing too as some families expressed worry that they wouldn’t have been able to pay off the accounts in time for the holidays. But thankfully that worry melted into relief after receiving the euphonious call.
“[These families] said they had given up, or they didn’t know what they were going to do,” Walters said.
“To relieve the anxiety, and stress and worry of a parent, you can’t put a figure on that,” he added.
It was a Majical day filled with hugs between families, employees and also the police department. It was great to see and feel the “heartfelt appreciation”, Walters said, which is what the holidays are all about.
“At the end of the day, there’s a huge percentage of interactions that we have with the public that are not positive,” Walters said. “[The holidays] are an opportunity to have some outreach and affect some lives in a positive way.”
This is the second time that the Dade City Police Department has paid layaway accounts for families in the area using anonymous donations. Their gifts to residents in the community are all tax deductible.
The department’s layaway payoffs are part of a larger project called Operation Blue Christmas, which is all about performing acts of kindness during the holiday season.