Food pantry ded­i­cates memo­rial freezer

The Sentinel-Record - - FRONT PAGE - GRACE BROWN

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.

The Sen­tinel-Record/Mara Kuhn

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,...

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