How 2 Pflugerville businesses, student groups are supporting those in need this holiday season

Child care center Bright Horizons Braker Lane and Weiss High School FFA will donate dozens of bags of children and adult clothing, along with food items, to Paula's Food Pantry and Clothes Closet on Dec. 13. (Courtesy Lauren Floyd)
Child care center Bright Horizons Braker Lane and Weiss High School FFA will donate dozens of bags of children and adult clothing, along with food items, to Paula's Food Pantry and Clothes Closet on Dec. 13. (Courtesy Lauren Floyd)

Child care center Bright Horizons Braker Lane and Weiss High School FFA will donate dozens of bags of children and adult clothing, along with food items, to Paula's Food Pantry and Clothes Closet on Dec. 13. (Courtesy Lauren Floyd)

For Lauren Floyd, community engagement is a fundamental component of the work she does at Bright Horizons Braker Lane, a child care center in Pflugerville.

This holiday season, Bright Horizons and Weiss High School FFA—a youth career and technical education organization focused on leadership—have collaborated to provide support for the Greater Pflugerville community, one article of clothing at a time.

Bright Horizons and Weiss High School FFA will donate dozens of bags of children's and adults clothing, along with food items, to Paula's Food Pantry and Clothes Closet on Dec. 13, following weeks of collections and volunteer efforts by staff and participating families. Paula's Pantry, located at 500 E. Pecan St., Pflugerville, provides food and clothing to those in need.

During the coronavirus pandemic, Paula's Pantry is now serving approximately three times the number of people it assisted prior to the public health crisis. In conversations with the nonprofit, Floyd said the increasing need for children's clothing became all the more apparent.

"They were in dire need for children's clothes," Floyd said. "And I said, 'Well, I know a bunch of kids.'"


To date, 10 large bags of women's clothing have been collected and sent to the center, in addition to around seven bags of children's clothing gathered for distribution. A wagon full of food will also be donated to the pantry, Floyd said.

Traditionally, the holiday season calls for in-person fundraising initiatives. This year, the bulk of the nonprofit's work has been done socially distanced or remote, with drop-off zones set up outside the child care center. However, having the collection site outside of the building has helped attract more interest in the initiative, increasing the number of donations received, Floyd said.

The response has been wonderful, with children ages 3 and 4 showing up to the collection site with smiles on their faces, Floyd said.

"They're smiling, dropping their things off, and you'll ask them like, 'What are you doing? Why did you bring us your clothes today?'" Floyd said. "And one little boy specifically said his shorts were too short."

LeeAnn Hackler's daughter is the community service chairperson of Weiss High School's FFA. As Hackler was collaborating with Floyd on this initiative, she said she knew that the FFA could help expand their initiatives to a larger scale.

Hackler said the FFA has collected more than 10 bags of adults and teens clothing, along with several pairs of shoes and maternity clothes.

"The servant in me just loves that we're hitting multiple areas of the community," Floyd said. "Like yes, [Bright Horizons is] early-childhood education and that is our focus. But we are about family, and through this we're meeting the needs of multiple levels of a family."
By Kelsey Thompson
Kelsey Thompson is the reporter for Round Rock, Pflugerville and Hutto, where her work focuses on education, city government and community development. Originally from Upstate New York, Kelsey relocated to Austin after graduating from Syracuse University in May 2019.


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