"Good Morning America" challenged its viewers to get in the Christmas spirit and raise as much as they can to help pay off holiday gift layaway plans.
By the end of Christmas Day, nearly 4,000 supporters donated more than $350,000. One person donated $10,000 and another gave $5,000.
In Virginia Beach, Virginia, one man paid off nearly $30,000 worth of layaways for more than 120 people at a local Navy Exchange.
All the money was donated through payawaythelayaway.org.
A few days before Christmas, "GMA" surprised military families at the Fort Campbell Army Base with news that their holiday gift layaway plans had been paid off in full just in time for Christmas.
The unsuspecting families thought they were gathering for a holiday party honoring service members, and were shocked with the news that instead they were being surprised with Christmas gifts for the whole family.
"I really want to say thank you to everybody," Sgt. Raul Rodriguez said Friday on "GMA." "It really means so much to my family and me."
How 'layaway angels' are spreading holiday cheer during Christmastime
Across the country, a holiday tradition has been growing involving a group of "Layaway Angels" who are hard at work this time of year spreading holiday cheer by paying off layaway plans for complete strangers ahead of Christmas.
Tania McCarthy, a nursing assistant and single mom of two young sons, told "Good Morning America" that she had fallen on hard times recently and was worried about how to make Christmas special for her two young boys.
"I had lost my job and my truck was repo-ed and recently my phone got shut off," McCarthy said.
She started a layaway program at Walmart to buy them Christmas gifts, but couldn't make her payment.
"GMA" teamed up with the nonprofit group Pay Away the Layaway this holiday season. To learn more about how to become a Secret Santa to a family in need, visit their website here.
"It's hard," she added, growing emotional. "Making sure that I have things for them."
Just in the nick of time, however, "an angel blessed me," she said.
"There was a text on my phone from a Walmart associate saying ... 'Come and get your stuff off of layaway ... it's been paid for,'" she said.
A total of $237 in toys, all from an anonymous angel.
- 3December 6, 2018
Earlier this month, entertainment industry mogul Tyler Perry paid off approximately $430,000 in layaway items at two Walmarts in Georgia.
"God bless you, go get your stuff and Merry Christmas," Perry said in a video announcing the news on Twitter.
I was trying to do this anonymously but oh well!!! pic.twitter.com/T0dhRHyU66— Tyler Perry (@tylerperry) December 6, 2018
Dakota Nelson, a young widower and father of seven who lost his wife this past summer, got a special surprise this holiday season, courtesy of an Idaho digital news site, EastIdahoNews.com, and a secret donor.
The father was surprised with the news that his layaway had been paid off, and then shocked even further with tens of thousands of dollars in gift cards from the anonymous donor, according to the station. Nelson broke down in tears when he was surprised with the holiday gifts.
In Chicopee, Massachusetts, 11-year-old Brady Procon helped raise funds to pay off a family's layaway of $300 in video games and toys.
"I wanted to do it because not a lot of kids aren't as fortunate as I am," Procon told local ABC News affiliate WGGB-TV. "It makes me feel happy and I hope that others do the same."
"I'm hoping other kids do this and kick off a trend," he added.
All across the country, families say they have been touched by these anonymous layaway angels.
"I'm looking forward to getting woken up by them, 'Mom, mom, come look!'" McCarthy said of Christmas this year. "And just have an amazing day with my kids."