NAPLES — In the Christmas spirit, some people in Naples and across the nation are paying it forward this holiday season.
At Toys R Us in North Naples, a donor anonymously paid off 38 layaway accounts for other people at the store in early December.
Toys R Us spokeswoman Katie Reczek said Tuesday that several hundred layaway orders were paid off by acts of generosity across the country. Toys R Us officials said they couldn't release any information about the customers or the items purchased.
Reczek said the acts of generosity for 2012 started in recent weeks.
"During the 2011 holiday season, a nationwide phenomenon began when individuals started paying off the remaining balance on in-store layaway orders for someone in their community, including at Toys R Us locations across the country," Reczek said.
Based on that, the company pledged to pay it forward by giving back each time a benefactor visits one of its stores and pays off the balance of the layaway order for someone in their community.
"For each layaway balance paid off as an act of kindness, the company will donate $200 worth of toys — the approximate average value of a layaway order created at Toys R Us — to the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, up to $1 million worth of toys," Reczek said. "We will keep the good going."
Toys for Tots is a program run by the Marine Corps League that distributes toys to needy children across the country each Christmas.
In Florida, about 200 layaway orders were paid by donors in stores this holiday season, including the 38 in Naples, Reczek said.
Toys R Us layaway for the holidays ended Dec. 16.
Naples resident Laura Bartareau, who was holiday shopping for her daughter at Toys R Us in North Naples on Tuesday, said giving back to the community should be done year-round. Bartareau, who donated items for children in Immokalee this holiday season, said she should do it more often.
Shopper Richard Duggan is encouraged by the random acts of kindness.
"I'm quite sure the country will open their hearts and help out. That is what we are all about," said the 72-year-old East Naples seasonal resident from Michigan.