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Philanthropist spends $20,000 to clear Christmas wish lists of families in need

Posted at 5:39 PM, Dec 20, 2022

PHOENIX — Twenty families were let loose inside a Tempe Target Tuesday, provided a heartfelt holiday shopping spree by local philanthropist Michael Pollack, founder of Michael A. Pollack Real Estate Investments.

“I never get to shop at Target, so it felt like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Ashley Suttle.

With her husband and kids in tow, the mother of two got the opportunity to spend $1,000 on anything she wants.

“I wanted to get us some new pots and pans for our house, a couple more household items that have grown old on us over the years,” said Ashley.

It may sound practical but that’s survival for this family of four. Living on limited means, paying more than $1,000 a month for a studio apartment, they’ve learned to stretch their budget.

“These families are one hundred to 200% below the federal poverty level,” said Torrie Taj.

Torrie Taj is the CEO of Child Crisis Arizona, an organization that’s been serving Arizona’s most vulnerable families for 45 years. They provide parenting resources, financial counseling as well as early education programs.

“We picked 20 of the neediest families we serve in our early education services, and we asked them can we take you on a shopping spree with a philanthropist and their family,” said Taj.

It's a generosity that saw items fly off the shelves and into the carts of some very deserving folks. Ashley focused of course on essentials but the kiddos certainly landing some goodies too. His credit card in hand, Michael Pollack and his wife Cheryl enjoyed every swipe.

“Actually seeing what the families pick and seeing that we’re filling a need that goes beyond Christmas that’s what’s so special and Christmas morning this is what we’ll be thinking about,” said Cheryl.

Ashley shared that her family had diligently been saving money for Christmas. This opportunity to shop for free gives her a chance to give back as well, a fact she shared with Michael and Cheryl.

“I just wanted to thank you for this, with this opportunity, me, and my family are now able to kind of pay it forward to three other families back home,” said Ashley.