Christmas celebrated throughout Austin

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West Side residents got the chance earlier this month to buy brand-new Christmas gifts at discounted prices.

Coats, toys, bikes and housewears were just some of the available gifts at the 5th annual Bethel New Life Christmas Store held Dec. 13 and 14.

“I think the biggest thing for us is that it allows people to feel good about themselves and giving gifts to their children,” said Lori Vallelunga, president and CEO of Bethel New Life.

Gifts donated by 28 churches and organizations are priced at roughly 75 percent below the original retail price.

“We set the dollar limit based on the number of gifts we have in the store and the value of those gifts,” Vallelunga said. “The point of that is so that everybody has an equal opportunity to be able to get what they’re looking for in the store.”

In all, about 15,000 gifts, 55 bikes and over 8,000 gift cards were made available to residents during the two-day event.

Shoppers were given 30-minutes and a $30 spending limit to purchase gifts during one of the eight shifts from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., Vallelunga said.

Proceeds from the event support Bethel New Life’s education programs, and toys that were not purchased were donated and distributed to community residents in need.

This past weekend, more than 125 toys were given away at another West Side institution, Greater St. John Bible Church.


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