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Evans church paying off others layaway accounts

Posted: December 21, 2011 - 10:05am

Twitter @ColumbiaCounty

Dozens of Christians from an Evans church are making their way downtown to Ruben’s Department Store, where they’re paying down the layaway accounts of strangers this Christmas.

At least 25 people from Wesley United Methodist Church have come into the store since Monday, said Jeff Gorelick, owner of the store.

“They just keep coming, more and more of them,” Gorelick said. “It’s an incredible thing they’re doing.”

Some pay $20 to an account, but others close out the account entirely.

“They paid a lady’s layaway yesterday. It had $115 left for a handbag she had been paying on for four months,” Gorelick said. “She started hugging me and crying. It was the greatest thing.”

Gorelick said he got a call at the store a week or two ago. The church was on the other line, asking if they had layaway.

“I told them we do layaways all year round,” he said. “I said, ‘We’re locally owned. We’ve been here 114 years.’ They said, ‘Thank you, you’re just what we’re looking for.’”

On Tuesday, a churchgoer came in to pay the account of a man who put a hat on layaway last Christmas. The man had been paying $5 a month all year long, in hopes of getting it out for this Christmas, Gorelick said.

“They came in and paid the $57 that was left,” he said. “I called him and said, ‘Santa’s come early, and paid for your Christmas gift.’”

If the church ever decides to repeat the program, Gorelick said he wants to be the first to donate.

“The owners, we’re Jewish, but we think this a wonderful thing for the holiday season,” he said. “It’s a rough world out there.

"They’re doing a good thing.”

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Comments (7)



Why do People have to have such expensive things for Christmas? We don't buy each other $200 purses and $100 hats. We don't have money to blow like that. It is a nice thing they are doing, but look how many kids/families that money could have helped to have a Christmas period that will be going without one rather than giving someone extravagant gifts they couldnt afford to buy to start with. So people who dont layaway expensive things and only buy small things they can afford get no help, but someone who cant afford expensive frivilous things they buy anyway do? Backwards if you ask me. People forget you dont break the bank for Christmas gifts, thats not what it is about!! If either of these people get any gov't assistance, they should be ashamed at buying such gifts to start with. Church Money would have been better spent going to the grocery store and seeing who isn't paying with EBT and buying them a Christmas meal!


Add me to the list

Can I sign up for this program next year? There is a big screen TV and coach purse I want but cant afford. Oh can I throw a new mustang payoff in there too, Ive never had a new car in my life? I mean really!!! All my life I've never spent money like that I can't afford on a gift. We have some friends who couldnt pay their rent, only bought what they could afford for Christmas which they couldnt really afford but did it anyway from charity, tax time comes and they get that fat check they barely paid into but got 8k back from working part time for minimum wage for a few weeks. Bought everyone new everything, couldnt pay rent again the next month, get gov't programs out the yang from lies. Call me scrooge if you want, but I call the rest of you enablers!! No I'm not a sour puss, but it seems we have been hit up for charity after charity and doind a little research b4 giving, have found half of them are scammers. This enabling is no different, use the money to help a pet rescue, help a family with a sick child cover medical bills, help keep a small business from struggling, not buying extravagant gifts for those who already couldnt afford what they bought, if they could they wouldnt owe so much this close to christmas. Had the church chose to give gift certificates for extravagant things to strangers, ok, this no way. Just tired of no sense of personal responsibility and the feeling of entitlement. I know a Church, a couple, actually who try to help out many people, the only problem is they are way to trusting and are scammed by most of the people with their hands out and don't bother to check into it and make sure they are deserving. And it wouldnt be so bad because its their money and their good deed, but everytime you give to the undeserving, you have neglected the deserving that could really use the help and would pay it forward! Not to say these people here are undeserving as I don't know them, but at the rate they were paying that extravagant gift wouldnt have been paid in the next 3 days. My husband and I CAN afford gifts for each other, but are opting to only do small gifts or a loving act for gifts instead of the $300 jacket and tools we want so we arent short later and to give our kids a better Christmas. Responsibility is hard work.


This is a rant for the

This is a rant for the Augusta Chronicle. My Mom( Patsy Skinner) fed over a hundred people yesterday and passed out wrapped gifts for the children, filled stockings for the adults and furniture and housewares! Augusta Chronicle was aware of this in advance. But its more important to highlight the First Baptist handing out turkeys. Or the lady who played Secret Santa to the lady @ Ruebens to pay off a purse that could have furnished enough gifts for probably 20 children! So its nice to see where your priorities are. But its okay, alot of children and families reaped the reward of my mother and her volunteers doled out yesterday. But it is a shame that our lovely local paper didnt feel what my mother does for her community just as, if not more important. Guess if her last name were Brown..But if you and your rich Church friends want to hell out more..remember her next year. She does this every year the Wednesday before Christmas. And every Wednesday of the week. See my Mother doesn't just do this for the "holiday" she does it everyday! Go donate.


This is a good example why

This is a good example why churches don't represent what they profess. Christmas is supposed to be a celebration of the birth of Jesus. Yet, Jesus is not on anyones list. Jesus receives no gifts, only lip service. Next, churches typically waste money supporting frivolous, worldly celebrations. What about paying on some heating, electric, prescriptions, food, rent, etc. Go to those people in the slums and ghetto. Seems like everything good associated with money ends up to be a sham in the end.

yellow cat

$200 purse

if you can't afford the purse, you don,t need it. People are hungry and the church is paying for purses and hats for $.10 heads. This is why I have reservations about giving my $$ to the church. I'll be willing to bet both of these individuals have close family in need of food, shelter, fuel, or mess. What a waste.

Silver queen

yellow cat


meds not mess, sorry about that.

Silver queen


What a Waste

I agree with all above and when I initially say this in the Chronicle last week I said the same thing. It is great to have the giving spirit to people less fortunate but to pay off layaway's for hat's that cost over $100.00 and purses that cost over $200.00, give me a break. Wesley Methodist needs to think about what giving is really about, and in my opinion it isn't about paying off expensive items that people could not afford to start with. It is about giving things to those who really need it, no one NEEDS expensive hats and purses.