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Spirit of Giving Sweeps a Nation

Jessica Flores

Spirit of Giving Sweeps a Nation

CREATED Dec. 21, 2011

COACHELLA VALLEY - Anonymous donors across the country are paying off layaway balances for total strangers. Customers at Toys-R-Us, Walmart and KMart have walked in stores expecting to either pay or cancel their layaway items, only to walk out with an early Christmas gift.

"I was like, it was paid off? I was excited and numb at the same time," said Sonya Mcduffie, who had her items purchased for her at a Toys-R-Us in Connecticut. 

In the Coachella Valley, secret Santas have reportedly paid for layaway items at the La Quinta Walmart. The Kmart in Indio has received $4,000 in anonymously donations, paying for more than 50 layaway items.

"There was a lady and she got her layaway paid off and she was really excited about that. It was like two hundred dollars," said Hannah Vega, who was standing in the Kmart layaway line behind a woman receiving a donation.

"People are in need these days and if someone could just give them something, whether it's a dollar or present or a little toy. It's not the amount or the cost, just give," said Kmat Shopper Edward Lamb, who just lost his job.

Hundreds of secret Santas made a Santa's workshop possible at Martha's Village and Kitchen, where hundreds of toys are set up in a Santa's workshop-type warehouse. On Christmas Eve, parents who can't afford gifts this year will be able to pick one out at the Santa's workshop for their kids.

"We've had a lot of anonymous donations. Everybody wants to be Santa," said Blair Amidei, Director of Development at Martha's Village and Kitchen.

To learn how you can donate to Martha's Village and Kitchen, visit