Featured Stories

Monthly Potluck Luncheons Help JustServe Flourish in Arizona

Women at a senior service luncheon in the Prescott Valley Arizona Stake share memories of their childhoods with pictures they brought to show. The monthly meetings started in 2016 and include service projects from JustServe.org. Photo courtesy of LaDawn Dalton, courtesy of Church News. All rights reserved.

This story appears here courtesy of TheChurchNews.com. It is not for use by other media.

By Mary Richards, Church News

An idea to create connections for older women in Prescott Valley, Arizona, has now expanded into a years-long service effort. 

Around 2016, the Prescott Valley Arizona Stake Relief Society started having monthly service luncheons for “sunshine (or senior) sisters” who might be lonely, explained LaDawn Dalton, the JustServe specialist in the Prescott Valley Arizona Stake.

Since that first luncheon, the group of women has done service projects and provided donations too numerous to count. They go to JustServe.org, a website and app listing the needs of community organizations and connecting those groups with volunteers.

“These sisters have provided sunshine to many organizations in need through JustServe,” Dalton said.

Some of these efforts include: 

Items collected for a food drive stack up on a table as women gather for a potluck lunch in the Prescott Valley Arizona Stake. The senior service luncheons began in 2016, and the women pick a JustServe project to do at each one. Often they help with food drives. Photo courtesy of LaDawn Dalton, courtesy of Church News.All rights reserved.
  • Making bows for babies
  • Collecting books for school libraries 
  • Sewing teacher appreciation baskets 
  • Giving trauma teddy bears to fire stations
  • Giving school supplies and paper to teachers
  • Providing supplies to the local mental health facility
  • Gathering pillows and blankets for the homeless shelter
  • Finding craft supplies and other requests for a special needs preschool
  • Donating food and snacks to healthcare workers and emergency personnel 
  • Providing food for the hungry through food banks and the Hungry Kids program
  • Collecting bandages, underwear, snacks, cough drops and more for school nurses

Dalton said each ward in the stake provided a committee member to help run the potluck luncheons and decide which service opportunities to participate in that month. 

“There is a palpable feeling of joy and unity at these luncheons,” she said. “It is so inspiring to feel the power of a group of women coming together for a worthy cause and lifting each other and providing hope at the same time.”

Dalton said news of what this group is doing is starting to be recognized throughout the community. They have made sure to let others know that the entire community is welcome to come eat and serve together. 

The women connect with each other as they share memories and speak of their childhoods. They also feel a love for the people they are serving in the community through the service projects.

“Find a project on JustServe.org and so you can appreciate what they feel: pure joy!” Dalton said.

The committee from the Prescott Valley Arizona Stake over senior service luncheons, pictured in October 2019. Front row left to right: Janice David, Alice Kurtz, LeOra Trevor, Florine Patterson. Back row left to right: Brenda DeNardo, Linda Howe, Barbara Tippetts, Sandra Gaston. Photo courtesy of LaDawn Dalton, courtesy of Church News.All rights reserved.

Copyright 2022 Deseret News Publishing Company.

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.