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Layaway Angels Granting North Texas Christmas Wishes

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COLLEYVILLE (CBSDFW.COM) - As families in north Texas cross off their own Christmas lists, so called "layaway angels" are helping put gifts under the Christmas tree for strangers.

"It's passing it on," says Jim Butcher, the president of Eagle Land Services Inc.

For a third year in a row, Butcher has made the trip to a Toys R Us in Hurst and paid the layaway tabs for dozens of families.

Butcher says growing up, he personally experienced this kind of generosity from his community.

"I had 9 brothers and 2 sisters. Churches used to bring food baskets for us at Thanksgiving and Christmas and that made our Christmas," says Butcher.

The company, a brokerage firm representing oil and gas companies in Colleyville, did not seek out the publicity.

A receipt in a pile of 18, shows a family had only made one payment of $25. The total bill was $225.

And this year, the layaway angels happened to meet someone they helped, while in the store paying for the bill.

"[the recipient] said 'I'm here because someone paid off my layaway, and then Andrea [the manager at Toys R Us] said, 'Absolutely, it was these people right here.' She was just kind of stunned that this was real," says Linda Davis, a marketing director at Eagle Land Services Inc.

This phenomenon isn't new, but the generosity is growing.

Near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, an anonymous donor, who goes by the pseudonym Santa B, wrote out a check for $50,000 to pay the remaining balances on layaways for families in need at one Walmart store there.

It's so common that the layaway registers at Walmart actually have a "Good Samaritan" button. It basically allows associates to randomly select layaway customers buying only toys and helps facilitate acts of kindness., a non profit that allows donors to pay off layaway tabs with children's items at stores throughout the U.S., says donors have given more than double what they did last year on the site.

For Colleyville employees, the pile of 18 receipts represent wishes granted.

"And after all, isn't that what Christmas is?," says Butcher.

Layaway season has ended at stores like Walmart and Toys R Us. Those still wanting to help can look at stores like Kmart, that have year round layaways. accepts donations throughout the year to help families pay for holiday layaways across the nation.

You can contribute any amount which will go directly towards helping to pay off holiday gifts purchased on layaway.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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