Donna Goldstein, who turned 99 on Oct. 19, has dedicated her life to doing things for other people. So it's no surprise that she used her winnings from a recent shopping spree at a 99 Cents Only Store to create holiday stockings for children in need.
In fact, the good deed aligned with Goldstein's tradition of giving around the holidays. "I give 12 stockings at Christmas and for Thanksgiving," she told TODAY.com. "I give 15 baskets of dinners for the needy."
Goldstein, who lives in Beverly Hills, California, won the shopping spree after her daughter, Judie, submitted her mom as a contestant.
"We placed an ad in our biweekly circular asking for people to recommend people who had turned 99 this year," Desiree Anderson, public relations and marketing coordinator at 99 Cents Only Stores, told TODAY.com.
The retail chain, which put out a call to residents in California, Arizona and Nevada, chose Goldstein as the winner out of seven candidates.
"Donna stood out because she talked about all the things she did for charities, using things from the 99 Cent Store."
Goldstein has been shopping at the 99 Cents Only Store on Wilshire Boulevard for years, and since it's her preferred location, the store ended up hosting her shopping spree Dec. 10. She was invited to fill up her cart with as much as she wanted, and the store would take care of the bill.
"She filled her cart and it came to about $162," Anderson said. "A little less than we expected."
But for Goldstein, it was just the right amount. She got exactly what she needed to keep up with her annual tradition of preparing a dozen holiday stockings for kids in need.
Doing charitable work has been one of the great joys of Goldstein's life — and she is always looking for more ways to help people.
"I was married quite young and I raised two beautiful children," Goldstein said. "I then became very active with schools, but even before I always tried something to do that helped people."
Goldstein added that as a housewife and mom, she could have "gone out and played cards or gone to tea," but that she wasn't interested in activities that didn't serve others. She estimates that for the past 30 or 40 years, she's centered much of her life around volunteer work, and charity is a big part of her identity.
"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.'"