Bethel Hosts Annual Christmas Store Christmas Store Volunteer Spotlight: Carol Hildebrandt
Christmas Store Volunteer Spotlight: Roger Carter Entrepreneurship Training Program Participants Showcase Their Businesses At The Christmas Store

Bethel Hosts Annual Christmas Store


Bethel New Life held its annual Christmas Store from December 13 – 14. During this event, participants were able to purchase brand new gifts donated by a group of 28 partner churches/organizations at prices that are roughly 75 percent off their regular retail price. Different from traditional Christmas charity, the Christmas Store empowers participants by giving them an opportunity to choose the gifts they want, purchase them at affordably low prices, and be a part of the gift giving process which reinforces their role as family providers. All proceeds from the event will go to support Bethel New Life’s education programs.


Toys remaining at the end of the store will be used in Bethel’s education programs. Other remaining items were donated to Bethel Lutheran Church for their Community Christmas program and distributed to community residents in need.

Christmas Store Volunteer Spotlight: Carol Hildebrandt


Carol Hildebrandt is a member of Bethlehem Lutheran Church in St. Charles, IL and has been volunteering with the Christmas Store for five years. She loves the way the store has evolved and loves the concept of a shopping experience giving the participant a way to choose gifts for their own families.


She first learned about the Christmas Store when a youth group from her church volunteered to help. She loved it so much that she got involved the next year and has since elevated her involvement up to organizing and coordinating the churches who send volunteers to the store. Carol’s generosity of spirit and her overwhelming enthusiasm for her work is extremely evident and shown by her continued support to this program.

Christmas Store Volunteer Spotlight: Roger Carter


Roger Carter has been volunteering with Bethel's Christmas gift program for 11 years and has been a part of the Christmas Store since its inception five years ago. Now he handles all the inventory where he receives all the items brought in and donated from other churches. He is also in charge of getting all the donated items set up for the store and making sure there are enough items for all the participants.


Roger got his start with the Christmas Store while being involved in Bethel’s Right Start program. He says he feels blessed and enjoys giving back to the community, especially at this time of year, and loves to “Make it Happen” for the kids. He intends on making the Christmas Store even bigger next year by enlisting the help of more corporations and other organizations in the area.

Entrepreneurship Training Program Participants Showcase Their Businesses At The Christmas Store


New at this year’s Christmas Store, two companies from Bethel’s Entrepreneurship Training Program (ETP) took part in an on-site business expo. Through this expo, Act Yoga and Excel Bookkeeping were both able to showcase their companies to the families participating in the Christmas Store.


Maxine Balm, owner of Excel Bookkeeping & Tax Service, was a participant in the third ETP class. She started her business in 2009 and from the very beginning, she faced struggles with marketing and presenting her business. By taking the class, it has allowed her to overcome those obstacles and take her business to a whole new level. She is now branded and has redesigned her website. She is getting a lot of positive feedback from this effort which has allowed her to reach new clients.

Maxine feels very strongly that the ETP class was excellent in providing information and making resources available to the participants. She also says that this new Christmas Store business expo opportunity is a great expansion of the value of the ETP to participants.

ETP Matching Donations

If you interested in Donating to the Entrepreneurship Training Program (ETP), Bethel has a tremendous opportunity to have up to $50,000 in donations to the ETP matched by one of our generous donors. Help us reach this number and raise $100,000 to support emerging entrepreneurs on Chicago’s West Side.