Arkansas Woman Gives Early Christmas Present to Shoppers, Pays For $28,000 in Groceries

An Arkansas woman gave an early Christmas present to local families on Thursday by paying for over $28,000 worth of groceries.

According to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Ashley Ann Jones, a 35-year-old Little Rock resident, came up with the idea to help local families pay for their groceries during the holiday season after reading news stories about long lines at food banks, which led to a decrease in resources for the food banks. She also told the Democrat-Gazette that after growing up in Scott, Arkansas and moving to Little Rock, she knows that some families can benefit from help.

"I was like, I'm going to buy groceries," Jones said while speaking to KLRT-TV in Little Rock. "Story after story about people getting laid off, or furloughed or just lost their company."

The Democrat-Gazette reported Jones helped families at two local Kroger supermarkets in Little Rock. Jones told the paper that many of the families living near one of the locations were forced to work multiple jobs to make ends meet, while the other location was frequented by military families and senior citizens.

After paying for groceries at the Kroger supermarket on E. Roosevelt Road in Little Rock, the store's manager, Joseph Mayo told the Democrat-Gazette that Jones' gave "a great Christmas gift."

"They'd come up and we'd say your groceries are paid for and they'd be like 'Are you serious? Really?'," Mayo said according to the Democrat-Gazette.

He added that, many families "never had anything like that happen to them before."

While speaking to KLRT-TV, Jones said that it was "really exciting to be in the position to be able to do that and I would much rather give the money directly to the community.

"A lot of those communities are overlooked and underserved," she told KLRT-TV. "And there were so many people that were there, they were in shock, they were in disbelief."

Holiday Shopping
People shop for groceries ahead of Thanksgiving at Costco Wholesale in East Harlem on November 24, 2020 in New York City. Noam Galai/Getty

Jones owns a business production company and social media strategy firm, and her social media pages show that she did a 'Holiday Bill Pay' earlier this week.

According to the Democrat-Gazette, this year, Jones gave away a total of $35,000 in cash payments of $250, $500 and $1,000 to help pay followers' bills.

While speaking to the Democrat-Gazette, Jones noted that the holiday season to her is about "family, love and a time to rest and reflect."

Newsweek reached out to Jones for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.