Bishop Brady Brings Busload of Cheer

The Operation Santa Claus headquarters was buzzing Monday morning as people came and went, leaving behind big bags of gifts. Monday, as you might have guessed, was the official drop-off day for Operation Santa Claus, and one of the biggest drops came Monday morning from Bishop Brady High School.

Packed with bags of presents, a bus from Bishop Brady sits waiting to be unloaded. Another, smaller bus brought a small army of students that helped unload and sort the gifts.

Linda Fairbanks, the campus minister at Bishop Brady, was there Monday overseeing the operation, which unfolded like a bucket brigade, passing bags of gifts from the bus across the massive garage to the proper spot.

Fairbanks said the school typically sponsors between 125 and 140 children a year, and have been doing so for more than 10 years.

“There’s a lot of reasons for doing it,” she said, relating her own story of how losing her husband led her to Operation Santa Claus.

Bishop Brady Campus Minister Linda Fairbanks talks with Lauren Abbott, a student co-chair of the school's Operation Santa efforts.

“We have a student that, when he was little, he was a recipient of Operation Santa,” she said. “Now he helps us out as a pay-it-forward type of thing.”

Fairbanks said the school has a good operation, and has no trouble finding volunteers and chairpeople to help out.

Student Co-Chair Chelsea Marshall said Operation Santa Claus gives students a great outreach opportunity.

“I feel like it’s a way to reach out to our community, help the children in need and give them a Christmas that they’ll never forget,” Chelsea said.

“And I think it’s a great way to get our school involved with our community,” she said.

Co-Chair Lauren Abbott agreed with Marshall’s sentiment.

“So many people in the school get involved in it,” she said. “We do like 140 kids and our school only has 360 people.”

With that many children to sponsor, there was much more to do than just raise money.

“There was definitely a lot of stuff we had to do after school, like making a list of all the children and finding sponsors, which took a lot of time,” Chelsea said, “and then putting them all together, making sure they had names, and putting them in the trailer and getting them all lined up. It was definitely a lot of work but we pulled it off.”

Gifts collected through Operation Santa Claus will be distributed on Thurs., Dec. 13.

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