New Haven pastor collecting gift cards for hundreds of teens this holiday season

New Haven pastor helps give teens a holiday to remember
Published: Nov. 30, 2022 at 8:04 PM EST
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NEW HAVEN, CT (WFSB) - With the holidays fast approaching, a New Haven pastor is using her own experience growing up to make sure teenagers don’t go without a gift this season.

“Me being the oldest, I was supposed to understand, the little ones get their gifts first,” said Pastor Brenda Adkins.

Adkins said growing up, there were many Christmas mornings where she went without.

“Even though I said ok mommy, I understand, then I would go up in my room and cry because I wanted a Christmas gift too,” Pastor Adkins said.

It’s why about five years ago, she started a “Christmas to Remember,” collecting gift cards so local teenagers won’t have to share that that sadness she experienced during the holiday season.

“I see all of these drives they do for the younger kids, but then it’s the older kids, the 13, 14 to 19 years old, they don’t get a gift,” said Pastor Adkins.

Just a few weeks ago, Adkins and her husband, along with their church, His Divine Will Fellowship and countless volunteers, saw more than 700 people turn out for their Annual Day of Joy Thanksgiving meal.

Now their attention turns towards Christmas and those gift cards.

“We ask for Walmart, Target, they like Amazon, standard are the Walmart cards because they can get a variety of things, especially if you’re from the inner city,” said Pastor Adkins.

Going off a list of names they get from the New Haven school district for their day of joy, they’ll help about 200 teens.  They tell us, this year, the plan is to also provide some gift cards to some teens from Hartford too.

“I get so much joy just to see the kids coming, just to know that someone they don’t know cares about it. That’s what makes it worth the time,” said Bishop John Adkins.

For those teens, who otherwise would go without, these gift cards could make all the difference when it comes to spreading a little holiday cheer.

“When they come and we give them the gift cards, the smiles, on their faces, thank you so much,” Pastor Adkins said. “They’re still older teens, they’re still young and they should be able to have a Christmas gift on Christmas.”

They’ll be accepting gift cards up until Dec 20th, with the plan to hand them out to the teens on the 21st.

Pastor Brenda Adkins’ contact info if you’d like to help:

330 Munson St

New Haven, CT 06511