Our Lady of the Angels Academy students in Lansford have collected 11 boxes of snacks, comics, toothpaste, dental floss, soaps and other items to send to troops in Afghanistan. Each grade made a card to tuck into the boxes, and posters.

The project was prompted by Patti Gerber, whose son, eighth-grade student Nick Barron, makes sure kindergarten student Andre Velez stays safe at the bus stop when Velez' maternal grandmother, Louise McLaughlin, cannot be there due to her work schedule.

Mclaughlin is caring for Andre while his parents, U.S. Marines Louise and Victor Velez, are away on duty. Victor is serving a tour of duty in Afghanistan and Louise is based at Quantico, Virginia.

"We had to do something," Gerber said. "Andre is like my second son."

Victor Velez contacted the chaplain at his base to find out which soldiers were in need of the care boxes. The First Catholic Slovak Ladies' Society, local branches 46 and 140, paid the postage to send the boxes to Afghanistan. The branches are based at St. Katharine Drexel Church, next door to the school. The branches paid the postage as a Join Hands Day project.