The Christmas Store was held December 12, 2015 for families living near Outreach Community Center in Carol Stream. The Store allows qualifying families to purchase gifts for their children at a savings of 75% off retail price. This is a win-win! Purchasing affordable presents honors parents and grandparents, while proceeds from the Store are designated to Outreach Community Center’s case management services, which helps local families throughout the year who need financial assistance.
The Store is open to any family served by or living near OCC. This year, 443 appointments were scheduled.
Extremely Low Income Shoppers
Families without monies to shop at the time of the Store meet with an OCC Case Manager to determine if a voucher is warranted. In 2015, casework staff issued vouchers to five families for 12 children.
Shopper Survey Results
57 shoppers responded to the 2015 survey, and the feedback was very positive. Here’s a sample of responses:
- “My favorite thing was the spirit of the staff and volunteers.”
- “I am thankful and grateful for the church choir and songs.”
- “Great prices, good people and awesome singing!”
The Christmas Store is made possible by the generous support of our community partners, the dedication of our volunteers, gift drives by area organizations and financial support of sponsors and individuals.
355 volunteers selflessly gave 1,388 total hours in 2015. Volunteer work begins months before the Store. Roles include check-in, translators, drivers, child care, helping shoppers, wrapping gifts, stockers and more.
57 area companies, churches and organizations held gift drives in support of the 2015 Christmas Store, including Carol Stream Women’s Chamber of Commerce, Windsor Park, FedEx, Tyndale House Publishers and Spraying Systems. 3,146 presents and 608 stocking stuffers were collected.
$19,955 in sponsorships and donations was raised in 2015. Supporters included the Rotary Club of Carol Stream and Nameplate & Panel Technology. All financial contributions underwrite Store expenses, freeing up dollars earned by store sales to go directly to the case management services at OCC, including the Client Assistance Fund. An additional $6,000 in-kind donation from Aramark provided breakfast and lunch for all the volunteers.
STORIES FROM THE STORE
“One of the Shopper Helpers turned in a dollar bill as a donation. She shared that a shopper was so grateful for the kindness and helpfulness she received, she insisted on tipping her as way to show her gratitude! This is a beautiful example of how the Store’s unique design maintains the dignity of our parents and grandparents.”
— Vanessa Roth, COO
“I assisted a woman shopping for two daughters and four granddaughters. As we shopped, she shared her story: She is a Columbian immigrant, working full time while raising two teenagers and two small granddaughters. The parents of the granddaughters had to return to Columbia, but because the two girls were born and raised here, grandma stepped in. She wanted them to get a strong education, so she chose to raise and support them by herself. She was so excited by the gift selection and had a hard time choosing. When we got to the stocking stuffers, I told her she could select two items per child, but she only chose one each. When I asked why, she said ‘It’s so much, and I want to make sure to leave some gifts for the people after me.’”
— Jenelle, Shopper Helper