A West Virginia church has been secretly paying off families’ layaway bills, using money from a trust that a family donated to the house of worship more than 100 years ago after the death of their daughter.
St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church told WTRF-TV that the house of worship is permitted to spend the money only on families who are purchasing gifts for children.
“The criteria for this was that the people had to be residents of Ohio County, either Wheeling or Triadelphia, and they needed to have children,” the Rev. Mark Seitz told the outlet. “They needed to be buying toys.”
So, St. Matthews has focused on paying off layaway orders at Walmart, where parents are saving up for Christmas toys leading up to the holiday later this month.
While the church wanted to remain anonymous, news leaked out on social media and its identity went public.
Seitz said that the family that made the donation had the surname “Scott” and that the dad was a U.S. senator. Records show that a Nathan B. Scott was, indeed, a U.S. senator for West Virginia from 1899 through 1911.
One genealogy website does claim that Scott had a little girl named Daisy who died during her youth. The information is based on a 1924 newspaper article in The Wheeling Intelligencer that announced Nathan Scott’s death.
“The interment will be in Rock Creek cemetery in a new family mausoleum which was recently completed for Senator Scott, and which contains the remains of his son, the late Major Guy T. Scott, who died in 1920, and his daughter, Daisy, who died in young girlhood,” the article read.
It’s amazing to see an act of kindness still blessing families more than a century later.