Secret Santas make holidays brighter for South Florida families

Charity pays off layaway orders at local Kmarts, surprising customers

By Neki Mohan - Anchor/Reporter

BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. - Just days before Christmas, Secret Santa and his layaway Elves were hard at work at the Kmart in Oakwood Plaza in Broward County.

Every year the group organized by the Gummakonda Reddy Foundation and pays off layaways filled with toys. At least 100 families benefited from this year’s campaign.

Once the layaway was paid off, the workers at Kmart called the lucky families and tell them they have just one penny left to pay off.

Demetria Hart was brought to tears by the phone call. She wasn't sure how she would grant the Christmas wishes of Bobby, Bryson and DIllon.

"I didn't want them to wake up and not have anything. I just went back to work and it’s been a rough year. This is a blessing,  God is good, definitely,” said Hart.

Secret Santa’s friends come out every year to help. Former Dolphin now radio host Channing Crowder does this every year and has a strategy.

"I go straight to fishing rods. I am a fisherman. I say that kid knows what his future holds," Crowder said.

The folks at Kmart get in the Christmas spirit and share in the joy.

Leoler Jones, a great-grandmother is so thankful, now her great grandson has a new bike.

"I was so happy, I said thank you Jesus the Lord is good,” Jones said.

Secret Santa moved on to the Kmart in Kendall the next day. A total of 100 families had their layaways paid off this year. The program is made possible with the support of Memorial Healthcare, Southern Glazers Wine and Spirits and Republic National Distributing Co.

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