In this morning's local paper:
ERIE, Pa. -- A local couple has made Christmas a little brighter for 47 area families.
The man and woman, who asked not to be identified, paid $5,000 worth of holiday layaways for the families during a visit to Walmart, 1825 Downs Drive.
"They came into the store on Saturday and said they wanted to spend $5,000 on layaways for people with children," said Matt Moore, Walmart store manager. "They did it last year at the Walmart on Elm Street."
Families on tight budgets sometimes use store layaways as an affordable way to buy Christmas presents, making payments on the gifts until they can pick them up at the store.
Walmart employees worked with the couple on Saturday and Sunday to identify families who met the benefactors' criteria: The layaways must have included items for children such as toys, cribs or bassinets.
"We agreed not to devote $600 or $700 on one layaway, so we could help more families," Moore said.
Allison Ricci, of Erie, received a call from Walmart on Sunday evening, saying her $60 layaway order had been paid.
"It's amazing," said Ricci, who has two young children. "It's such an act of generosity for people they don't even know."
The gift made such an impact on Ricci that she intends to use the $60 she was going to spend on her layaway to help someone else.
"I haven't decided whether I'm going to donate to Toys for Tots or choose a child on the giving tree we have at work," Ricci said.
Some of the other 46 families have chosen to pay off other people's layaways, Moore said.
"This is the kind of stuff I love to see," Moore said. "With so much negativity out there, this restores your faith in people."