Church pays off $10,000 in layaway accounts for Atlanta families in need

Cascade United Methodist Church surprised families on the final night of layaway at a local Walmart by paying for their items Monday night.?

ATLANTA — Christmas is a time of joy and giving. But for families struggling to make ends meet, it can be a time of stress trying to figure out how to pay for everything.

A metro Atlanta church wanted to take away the stress and answer prayers for dozens of families.

Cascade United Methodist Church surprised families on the final night of layaway at a local Walmart by paying for their items Monday night.

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For Suwanda McCreary, it was the extra Christmas spirit she needed going into the holidays.

McCreary told Channel 2's Alyssa Hyman her 28-year-old son Justin was killed in April and this would be the first Christmas without him.

"I used to take him shopping every year for his children for Christmas. He left three kids behind," she said.

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McCreary had to do the shopping alone this year, which was hard emotionally and financially.

When she showed up at the Walmart on Cascade Road, she didn't expect to have her entire layaway order paid off.

"It's a tremendous help because I really wasn't able to do it. Sometime I would borrow money, To get this phone call, it meant a whole lot to me," she said.

The church paid nearly $10,000 worth of layaways off for 23 families in need.

"It means everything to us to see the smiles on these people faces," said Dr. Kevin Murriel. "You just can't beat that we have been blessed again to be a blessing and it means the world to us to do that."

It's a generous gift that helped so many like McCreary and Laurel Sessions, who can now take home Christmas presents for their grandchildren.

"It help me to be able to pay a bill that I didn't have the money. I needed this bill paid and it just came right at the right time," Sessions said.

Dr. Murriel told everyone that he hopes these families will be inspired to pay it forward one day.