Left to right, Main Store Manager shopper Elaine Thomson, Operations Manager David Parker; shopper Bonita Jones, and Customer Service Associate Kayley-Ann Hanner celebrate the Exchange paying off the layaways. Thompson's MacBook and Jones' backpack and kids' clothing were paid off.

Back-to-School Surprise: Pay Away the Layaway Comes to Four Exchanges

Left to right, Sandra Reed, Ramstein Exchange main store manager; shopper Elaine Thomson, who had her MacBook paid off; David Parker, Exchange operations manager; shopper Bonita Jones, whose paid-in-full layaway included a backpack and kids’ clothing; Kayley-Ann Hanner, Exchange customer service associate.


Shoppers at four Exchanges overseas were surprised to learn that their back-to-school layaway had been paid off by the nonprofit organization Pay Away the Layaway.

More than 30 military families had nearly $6,000 in back-to-school layaway paid off, including computers, backpacks and kids’ clothing.

“Several of our winners are in the process of PCSing, so this surprise was also a big relief to them,” said Denise Lundie, main store manager at Germany’s Grafenwoehr Exchange, which presented the paid-in-full layaway to 18 shoppers.

At Panzer Barracks, the Exchange’s Venessa McQuage, Michael Ryan, and Cynthia Jack, present Staff Sgt. Darnell Frieson with his paid-in-full layaway.

Ramstein Air Base and Panzer Barracks, both in Germany; and Camp Humphreys in South Korea also surprised students and families.

Sgt. 1st Class Walter Navarro, who had his layaway at Germany’s Panzer Exchange paid off, was grateful for his family’s “good-hearted benefactor.”

“We’re really happy to be a part of this community and benefit from this event,” Navarro said.

The Exchange has teamed up with up with Pay Away the Layaway before to surprise military families with paid-off layaways.

“Our military does so much to keep us safe, and military families have to make so many sacrifices,” said Lee Karchawer, founder of Pay Away the Layaway. “It’s truly an honor to be able to give back to them in a small way for all they do.”

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.


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