National Junior Honor Society students at Immanuel Lutheran School in Brandon collected boxes of gifts for Operation Christmas Child last month.

Students at Brandon’s Immanuel Lutheran School are making Christmas brighter for children around the world. The National Junior Honor Society participated in Operation Christmas Child last month, collecting 150 boxes of gifts to be donated to children in need.

The group and its advisor, Bonne Faherty, came up with Operation Christmas Child when looking for a worthy service project.

Operation Christmas Child is a popular project coordinated by Samaritan’s Purse and used by churches and other groups to bless children in need around the world. Volunteers collect personal items, such as combs; brushes; toothbrushes; washcloths; bar soaps; band aids; clothing or accessories like new shirts, socks, flip flops, hats, sunglasses, hair bows and friendship bracelets; and small toys, and put them in shoeboxes.

For more information about items to put into the shoeboxes, visit

“Churches and groups of all sizes pack shoebox gifts each year to bless children in need around the world,” said the school’s admissions director, Christal Trlak. “Parents often use the project to teach their kids about giving. Pastors around the world host shoebox distributions in places where people may not know Christ and invite them to follow Him. Other churches use the boxes as resources for outreach in orphanages and other at-risk areas.”

For more information about Operation Christmas Child including a short video of children receiving their boxes, visit

Immanuel Lutheran School, which was founded in 1980, offers classes to students from preschool to eighth grade with a full curriculum, including computer instruction, PE, Spanish, music, band and other middle school electives. The school also offers an athletics program featuring multiple sports during the school year with teams competing against other schools in the Tampa Bay Christian Athletic League.

The school’s mission is to share the love, joy and peace of Jesus Christ with students and their families while building Christian leaders through biblical instruction and the pursuit of academic excellence.

To learn more about Immanuel Lutheran School, which is located at 2913 John Moore Rd. in Brandon, call 685-1978 or visit

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Kate Quesada
Assignment Editor Kate Quesada started working at the Osprey Observer in 2004 after graduating from the University of South Florida with a masters degree in Mass Communications. Since then, she has held various positions at the paper and has been working as the assignment editor since January 2020. She lives in Lithia with her husband Mike and sons Dylan and Max and stays active in the community on school PTA boards and volunteering with local organizations.