BRANDON — Angels gathered on the second floor of the Brandon Foundation office to deliver heartwarming blessings of Thanksgiving dinner essentials.
Many of the angels, teenagers taking time out of their week-long break from school to help, worked diligently together to place the donated food items in separate bags: cranberry sauce, stuffing and bread rolls.
Supporters donated the turkeys and the Bridges Assisted Living Facility donated the baked pumpkin pies. The angels created greeting cards and place mats for each bag.
The Brandon Foundation celebrated its second annual Thanksgiving Dinner donation outreach event Nov. 22. Members of the foundation's Junior Angel Program collected food items and distributed them to 15 families, who received assistance this year through the nonprofit's Angel Program. The program helps families in the Brandon community who encountered a catastrophic event or life-threatening illness.
"This great program generates a welcoming atmosphere to give families reassurance that the community does support them," said one of the junior angels, Newsome High School junior Kinzey Faught.
Newsome freshman Kyle Sellers, 15, said it was wonderful to see smiles on the families' faces.
Angel recipient Sheri Brown attended the outreach to receive her Thanksgiving dinner. Brown lost her husband last year and had to close their business. She cannot work outside the house because she takes care of her husband's 93-year-old mother with health issues.
"The Brandon Foundation angel members came out to my home to conduct ceiling repairs, storage unit repairs and general household repairs," Brown said. "The Brandon Foundation needs to be recognized for helping the community and the services they provide."
Michael Clayton, president of the National Football League Alumni Association Tampa Bay Chapter and former Tampa Bay Buccaneers football player, lent his celebrity to the event. Clayton, co-host of the television show Great Day Tampa Bay, aided the Junior Angels with handing out the Thanksgiving dinners to the Angel Families.
He also spoke with every Angel family and gave a special Thanksgiving prayer. The room lit up as he exchanged kind words and hugs to the families.
Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office Deputy Josh Boyer, who works with the area's homeless population, and foundation board members also made an appearance.
The foundation's Junior Angel Program aims to train future community leaders and provide opportunities for students to earn community service hours throughout the whole year. The Brandon Foundation schedules activities and events with its registered non-profits. Students in the sixth-grade through twelfth-grade can join. This program plans to participate with other projects in the near future.
"It literally fills my heart with joy to watch our kids impact the community, while experiencing that kind of feeling of what it means to help somebody," said Junior Angel chairwoman Jill Lansky said.
For more information visit brandonfoundation.org/junior-angels. Or call (813) 689-6889.
Contact Tatiana Ortiz at [email protected]