Tell some people they have a chance of winning a shopping spree and within a few seconds they’ve already thought of at least 10 things they’d purchase.
When Donna Goldstein learned she had won an opportunity to shop for whatever she wanted at a 99 Cents Only store, she had a general idea of what she wanted to buy, but where she differed from most others was that the items she intended to purchase weren’t for her.
In 2015, 99 Cents Only advertised a contest for customers who recently turned 99 years old.
Donna’s daughter, Judie, saw the advertisement for the contest and submitted her mother, who turned 99 years old in mid-October of 2015.
She hoped that her mother’s story would give her an edge over the other contestants.
Donna was chosen as the winner out of seven candidates across three states.
“Donna stood out because she talked about all the things she did for charities, using things from the 99 Cent Store,” Desiree Anderson, public relations and marketing coordinator at 99 Cents Only, told TODAY.com in December 2015.
She was awarded a shopping spree and didn’t have a budget.
For years Donna, a longtime resident of Beverly Hills, California, visited the 99 cent store, stocking up on goodies which she would later stuff into a Thanksgiving basket or pack into a Christmas stocking. But those holiday gifts weren’t for her or her family—they were for people in need.
The 99-year-old told TODAY that for most of her life she volunteered her time to help others.
“That was my whole life — volunteer work,” she said. “I think that’s what people have known me for: ‘Just call Donna, she’ll help.'”
Donna wanted to shop for those less fortunate than herself.
So, when the time came for Donna’s prize, she knew who she was shopping for and exactly what she wanted to put in her cart.
She spent her shopping spree going from aisle to aisle picking out beauty products, snacks, and holiday-themed items.
Donna grabbed snacks and holiday-themed items and placed them in her cart.
In the end the items she grabbed totaled a little over $160, which Anderson admitted was “a little less than we expected,” but for Donna it wasn’t about how much she could spend in a short period of time.
It was about getting a little something for some deserving children.
KTLA reported that Donna, along with members of her senior community, planned on assembling Christmas stockings and distributing them to children in the Los Angeles area.
The store even surprised her with a birthday cake.
“It makes me feel good because I know where it’s going and I know that it’s appreciated,” Donna told CBS Los Angeles.
Donna passed away on June 15, 2016.