For a lot of children, summer is a time of friends, family and fun. However, when school is not in session, many students dependent on cafeteria lunches may not know where their next meal is coming from. The free and reduced lunch program at the Prosper Independent School District guarantees that students don’t go hungry while in school, but what happens when school is out for the summer? That’s where the Prosper Ladies Association comes in.
The Prosper Ladies Association is a dedicated group of local women whose goal is to serve the community through charity, fundraising and support of area nonprofits. Led by Vice President Amy Jukes and a host of other devoted community leaders, the PLA is raising funds to help provide Prosper ISD’s beneficiaries of free and reduced lunches with healthy options, and ensure no child goes hungry this summer.
“Our summer lunch program is all about helping the community in any way possible,” Jukes said. “We’re always looking for new ways to help local children and people in need, and we’re fortunate enough to be able to do that alongside some amazing partners.”
Those partners include Bethlehem Place, the food pantry with which PLA member Tiffany Smith partnered in 2013 to kickstart the Light Lunch Ministry. The two groups have identified 125 PISD students in need of healthy options during the summer, and through a combination of corporate and individual sponsors, the PLA raises funds to provide these students with meals. This summer, the association and Bethlehem Place have been able to cover 7,000 meals. According to Jukes, a lot of the credit goes back to the community.
“We’re always seeking new ways to give back, and the community is always giving back to us,” she said. “There’s a lot of work to be done, but we’re always up for it.”
This year, sponsors of the summer lunch program include PISD, the First Baptist Church, the new Kroger store and a small group of local parent-teacher organizations. While the Prosper Ladies Association is proud of five years of the Light Lunch ministry, it’s also eager to continue serving the community in other ways.
The Association hosts an annual Boots & Bling Gala to fund the Soaring Higher Prosper Scholarship Program, an endowment that recently granted 15 local students one year of tuition-free studies at Collin College. Furthermore, the PLA also participates in an annual Angel Tree giving event, where Prosper families spread holiday cheer by providing presents to families in need. Finally, the Association also assembles Easter baskets to gift the dozens of children being served by Bethlehem Place, and hosts an annual golf tournament to raise additional funds for Prosper nonprofits.
No matter the season or the cause, PLA members said they are eager to expand its services to the community. In fact, though they already offer a wide variety of services, the PLA is hoping to help Prosper even more.
“We want to continue to support nonprofits, and help organizations in ways that go beyond fundraising,” Jukes said. “If it helps Prosper, we’re always willing to lend a hand.”