Church collecting Christmas presents for local teenagers

CADYVILLE - Cadyville Wesleyan Church is working to make sure even older kids get what they want for Christmas.

The church is holding its second "Toys for Teens" drive, collecting new, unwrapped toys and other gifts for local teenagers. Church parishioner Dawn Badger came up with the idea in time for Christmas last year, collecting several donations for The Christmas Bureau, a nonprofit organization which helps provide Christmas gifts for underprivileged families in Clinton County.

Last December, Badger and her fellow parishioners decided to forego the traditional exchanging of presents during their adult Sunday School Christmas get-together and, instead, give back to the community, she said.

"I thought, rather than exchanging gifts amongst ourselves, we could bring in an item for a youth and bring them to The Christmas Bureau," said Badger. "I wanted to focus on teens because they seem to be the ones that are kind of left out."

Some other collection drives focus on donations for younger children, but Badger, a mother of two teenagers herself, said she feels every child should have a nice Christmas, regardless of their age.

The congregation seemed to agree.

"We actually brought in quite a bit of stuff," Badger said of last year's donations, which amounted to approximately 30 toys. "I think we were successful for doing it on such short notice."

This year, Badger and others behind the collection drive began the effort a few months in advance, even holding an all-night youth group party where those attending were asked to bring at least one toy to donate.

"We had 23 teens show up," said Badger, with each bringing at least one donation or more, she added. "I have to give credit to the kids because they're the ones who are talking to their friends and inviting them to bring stuff in. It's a good way for them to realize the season isn't just for them, it's for giving." The Rev. Jeffrey R. Turcotte, pastor of Cadyville Wesleyan Church, said the message of giving is spreading and by inviting members of the community to donate to the collection drive, the church's effort can be even bigger than last year.

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