Photo taken by the the Eagle Tribune
It was just an amazing experience. I cried a lot, said TD's Ivette Korecki
Ivette Korecki, TD Bank Store Manager in Methuen, Massachusetts, never wants any child to have a Christmas like the one she had when she was younger.
Korecki's family was robbed one holiday while they were living in Brooklyn, New York, and she'll never forget her parents telling her there were no presents to open that year.
"It was the worst Christmas," she said. "We had nothing."
Korecki and her TD Bank Market President Mauro DeCarolis were the masterminds behind raising money for paying off layaways at a local Walmart, to the shock of so many grateful customers in need.
On Monday, Korecki and her team walked into a store in Methuen and paid off $3,000 worth of merchandise. Today, they will donate another $1,000 to a different Walmart in the area.
Among those affected by this donation were a mother of five, who just needed another $100 to pay off a laptop that will go toward her getting her GED, and a father who was actually coming in to surrender gifts he previously bought and couldn't afford to pay off.
"He then found out the toys were his to keep," she said.
Korecki explained how she and DeCarolis came up with the idea for this kind gesture.
"We were talking at an event and I said, 'I wish we could do something bigger,'" she explained. "He said, 'Why don't we pay off someone's layaway?'"
From that point on, Korecki, who also volunteers with foster kids, held a 'Wear your jeans to work day,' where employees each donated $5.
DeCarolis said that after 36 years with TD Bank, the banding together of hundreds of employees to raise money for those in need has to be at the top of things he's most proud of.
In just one week, 400 colleagues joined in and raised $2,000. TD matched with another $2,000.
"I truly believe we are blessed to be working with this great organization and I am blessed to be working alongside you," DeCarolis said of all those who contributed to the cause.
For Korecki, it was certainly an "amazing experience."
"I cried a lot," she said. "At the end of the day, 400 employees donated and it was a tremendous group effort."
This story was first reported in the Eagle Tribune.