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Group surprises Ft. Jackson Families by paying off layaway balances for the holidays

More than 25 families were surprised and more than $3,700 was used to pay off the balances.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — One nonprofit surprised Fort Jackson families by paying off layaway balances for the holidays.

Debra Lautenschlager, the sales and merchandise manager at the Exchange, says they were able to partner with Pay Away the Layaway to make a difference for families at Fort Jackson.

"We were able to, in ten locations with Fort Jackson being one of them, pay off the toy, clothing, and coat layaways for children and families of the Fort Jackson community," said Lautenschlager.

According to the nonprofit's website, Pay Away the Layaway, "is a registered 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization that raises money online to pay off layaway balances. The mission of the organization is to inspire hope and spread kindness. The Exchange is honored to partner with Pay Away the Layaway to bring excitement to military families as they celebrate the holidays."

Lautenschlager feels it's important to make sure veterans and their families are taken care of.

"Playing Mrs. Santa Claus for these families was amazing. It is a privilege everyday to work with our troops, the people who have served and are still serving. We love this time of year to give back to our community. Our mission is family serving family," said Lautenschlager.

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Credit: WLTX

Quintin Custis, who serves at Fort Jackson, had some items on layaway at the Fort Jackson Post Exchange. He said he was called in to the Exchange to talk about his lay away.

"I was planning to get the layaway out prior to two or three days before Christmas. It's perfect," said Custis.

Custis thinks it's amazing someone took the time to think of and give to his family.

"What this really means for me and my family is to have joy in their life, to spread love throughout the community, throughout the school, throughout Fort Jackson, and thanking Fort Jackson and the family of Fort Jackson to give back to veterans and soldiers alike," explained Custis.

"Not having to purchase my layaway has been a very great opportunity to put money back in my pocket, to kind of share some with someone else (for) the opportunities that they need, and to spread out love throughout the community and family. It gives an insight that there are folks out there who do care, that are willing to help others no matter what nationality, creed, or (religion)."

Over 25 families were surprised and more than $3,700 were used to pay off the balances.

RELATED: Thanksgiving meal warms the hearts of soldiers at Fort Jackson

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