Oak Park, IL, November 14, 2013-Community Bank of Oak Park River Forest and Downtown Oak Park are partnering in an effort to collect donations for the Bethel New Life Christmas Store. Bethel New Life is a nonprofit organization located at 4950 W. Thomas in the West Side Chicago neighborhood of Austin.

From now through Sunday, December 8, local residents are asked to drop off donations at any of the following Oak Park locations:

  • Community Bank of Oak Park River Forest – 1001 Lake Street (Oak Park) or 7777 Lake Street (River Forest)
  • Anthony Peter Hair Salon – 169 N. Marion Street
  • Careful Peach Boutique – 1024 N. Boulevard
  • The Competitive Foot – 102 N. Marion Street
  • Oak Park Visitors Center – 1010 Lake Street
  • Muse – 106 N. Marion Street
  • Takara – 123 N. Marion Street
  • Wells Street Popcorn – 1119 Lake Street

All donated gifts must be new and should not be wrapped. The most popular donations last year were electronic and educational games for toddlers, toys, African American Barbie dolls, board games, winter gear for all ages and genders, bed sheets, bath and body products, house wares, Walmart gift cards and books. A full list of preferred items is located online at www.cboprf.com/GiftList.pdf.

The Bethel New Life Christmas Store provides an opportunity for selected families in the West Side neighborhood of Austin to purchase Christmas gifts with dignity. Donated gifts are sold at the Christmas Store for an affordable price: $1, $5, or $10, roughly 75% below retail price. Families purchase gifts with their own money, or frequently use “Bethel Bucks” which they collect through attending special training and financial literacy courses at Bethel New Life throughout the year. The impact comes full circle as proceeds then enable Bethel to support their childhood education program for families in need on the West Side of Chicago. The mission of Bethel is to empower individuals, strengthen families, and build neighborhoods through community-drive, solution-oriented, and value-centered approaches. Since 2010, more than 2000 families have participated in the Bethel Christmas Store. More information about Bethel New Life is available on their website at www.bethelnewlife.org.

Community Bank has been a frequent facilitator of financial literacy events, and during its seventeen year history the Bank has donated over $2 million to various local civic and charitable organizations. Community Bank of Oak Park River Forest was organized in 1996 as a locally owned bank focused on creating financial solutions for individuals, professionals, owners of closely-held businesses and nonprofit organizations in the Oak Park, River Forest and Forest Park communities. Community Bank, which had assets of $300 million as of December 31, 2012, has two locations: 1001 Lake Street, Oak Park and 7777 Lake Street, River Forest.