The Christmas Store

“About 20 years ago I began volunteering at Outreach Community Ministries (OCM). I had gone on multiple missions trips but wanted to find a way to give back locally. Over time I was asked to join the board of Outreach Community Center (OCC) in Carol Stream. OCC is where the Christmas Store is held. A few years later I joined the board of the parent OCM organization and now serve on both boards.My wife Jennifer began volunteering at OCC during the Christmas Store and then was asked to join the leadership committee.”

“For the last 10 years she and two other ladies have co-chaired the Christmas Store committee.  On the second Saturday of December the Christmas Store offers the residence of the community that receive services from OCC the opportunity to experience Christmas in a meaningful way.  This one-day event provides 400 families the opportunity to purchase gifts for almost 1,000 children at 25% of the regular price.”

“All gifts are brand new and donated to the event.  Families register and then have a specific time to shop. During that time, their children have care provided, the parents shop, and gifts are purchased and then while the gifts are being wrapped, parents get a little break and some refreshments until their gifts are ready.  Once complete, the families leave with gifts in hand for their children.  It gives them a feeling of accomplishment and dignity as the parents and grandparents select specific gifts for their children and grandchildren.”

“All in all, it takes almost 400 volunteers and over 2,000 gifts to make this day happen, from shoppers’ helpers to gift wrappers to child care providers to cashiers.  KeHE has come along side Jennifer and me and participated in many ways from a gift drive to volunteering at the event.  In fact, last year 3 individuals helped set up the shopping area on Friday and then 15 employees and spouses or friends joined in volunteering in many ways.”

“Less than 5 minutes from where we live, we can make a big difference, and that’s exciting! We don’t need to travel an hour by car or 4 hours by plane, we just need to drive 5 minutes away. There are big needs in the town we live in. It’s why I serve on those boards. Our participation is making a difference.”

– David Ochs, Sales