Food pantry dedicates memorial freezer
Family, friends and members of the Lakeside School District gathered Saturday to dedicate a freezer for Ali’s A.C.E. (All Created Equal) Food Pantry and Clothes Closet in honor of an alumni who was killed in a traffic crash last year.
Alexis “Ali” Raeann Arguello, 21, of Hot Springs, died on Feb. 19, 2016, in Missouri. She was the daughter of Robert and Becky Mullenix Arguello.
Ali Arguello was a 2012 graduate of Lakeside High School and would
have graduated from the University of Arkansas in May 2016. She studied Supply Chain Management in the Sam M. Walton College of Business, and planned on working for General Mills after graduation.
The night after she died, her family had already started searching for way to set up a meaningful memorial in her name. Her mother contacted the founder of A.C.E., Sarah Robbins, and they decided to rededicate the food pantry and clothes closet in Ali’s name after her family asked that any donations made in her memory go to the food bank.
For the past nine years, A.C.E. has served members of the Lakeside School District community by giving them access to nonperishable food items, toiletries and clothing. All the items are donated and, according to Robbins, each donation is “a God thing.”
Their mission is to give Lakeside students and their families support through food distribution, clothes sharing and nutrition education with dignity and attention to special needs.
Recently, the food pantry and clothes closet received a donation of about $6,500 in Ali’s name. The money was used to purchase a much-needed freezer for the food pantry, allowing them to hand out perishable items to those in need within the school district.
“We always wanted a way to give out fresh foods. We had been giving out so many carbs, but really wanted to do something where we could give out protein, fresh vegetables and fresh fruits. Stuff that’s healthier,” said Robbins.
According to the director of Ali’s A.C.E., Kay Fleischner, they did extensive research on the best ways to bring a freezer into fruition, going to other schools in Garland County to view their setups.
“When I took over we had all this money (from the donations made in Ali’s name), but I didn’t really feel like it was our money. It was the Arguello’s money and we wanted to do something in her honor,” said Fleischner.
Her family and friends remember her as a fun-loving young woman with a heart for giving and Christ. At the dedication, her mother spoke about how perfect of a fit the memorial was.
“Ali had a saying, ‘I like my money where I can see it, in my closet’ so this is just a perfect fit,” said Becky Arguello.
“A.C.E. really is how Ali lived her life, because she truly believed that all were created equal, and everybody deserved a fair chance. Her heart would really be for this, and I think it’s something she would do in her life anyway,” she said.
The food pantry is open once a week, year-round, on Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Anyone working at or attending school in the district is welcome to use it. Those interested in using Ali’s A.C.E. should contact one of the counselors in the Lakeside School District.
LEAVING A LEGACY: Becky Arguello, second from right, with her husband, Robert, right, speaks Saturday during a dedication of a freezer in her daughter’s honor for a food pantry. Ali Arguello died in a traffic crash last year. From left are Ali’s uncle,...