Layaway Angel 2.0?
December 4, 2018 1:41 PM   Subscribe

This was me, the first year (2011) as a Layaway Angel. But now I'm wondering what we could do that's a bit different. IOW, what's "Layaway Angel 2.0"? Specs inside.

It has felt really good being able to brighten someone's Christmas celebration (anonymously) by ensuring that kids get presents without breaking the caregivers' budget, while also spreading Christmas cheer beyond the direct recipients to people who hear about it (and are maybe inspired to do the same). But, the nearby Kmarts are now closed and, while one remains open about thirty miles away, I would really like to focus the effort more locally. It seems like there should be something more novel and beneficial to do with $200-$300 than paying off layaways, but I'm stumped for ideas and so I turn to you.
posted by DrGail to Grab Bag (8 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
You can offer to pay overdrawn accounts in the cafeterias at your local public school. Donate toys to a stuff the sleigh/adopt a family charity in your area. Give feminine hygiene supplies, healthy shelf-stable snacks, hand sanitizer, socks, etc. to a local homeless outreach.
posted by goggie at 1:45 PM on December 4, 2018 [13 favorites]

Do you do the Sun-Times’ Letters to Santa program? It’s great. I worked at a school where kids participated, and it was just the absolute best. You can do the shopping yourself or just donate money.
posted by goodbyewaffles at 1:51 PM on December 4, 2018

Donate underwear to homeless outreach, particularly large sizes.

They get a lot of clothes, especially women's and children's, but new underwear, unlike socks, is rarely donated.
posted by jgirl at 2:14 PM on December 4, 2018 [3 favorites]

Your dollars go pretty far, and do some of the same sort of good work that layaway payoff does, if you support a consumer debt cancellation program like Rolling Jubilee.
posted by jackbishop at 2:40 PM on December 4, 2018

Walmart still does layaway.
posted by tilde at 3:37 PM on December 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

Maybe scroll through the Twitter account of activist Mariame Kaba (@prisonculture). She's posted a bunch of toy drives for kids whose parents are incarcerated and also incarcerated people themselves. An example is here. The first is a wish list from Moms United Against Violence and Incarceration.

Another good pre-holiday place to give is the Chicago Community Bond Fund. Nothing better than the gift of someone's presence.
posted by purpleclover at 3:37 PM on December 4, 2018 [2 favorites]

DACA recipients (Dreamers) have to pay $495 for renewal. This is a hardship for many of them. In my city there are organizations that take donations to help with the fee. If you are interested in this, a first place to check might be HIAS Chicago. If they don't have a fund, they might know of an organization that does.
posted by mcduff at 3:56 PM on December 4, 2018 [2 favorites]

Perhaps The Human Utility? They pay off overdue waterbills in Detroit, Baltimore, and other places. Some of the stories of doing without are heartbreaking.
posted by Mo Nickels at 6:25 PM on December 4, 2018 [4 favorites]

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