It is a Thursday morning and mothers are shuffling into the ACE trailer to get food and clothes for their families. A number of Lakeside school district families are economically disadvantaged and would not have food on the table it if weren’t for ACE.
All Created Equal, also known as ACE, is a project that helps underprivileged families in the Lakeside School District. ACE is run by donors and volunteers who donate their goods and services for its upkeep. ACE is located in a trailer behind the high school and is filled with donations from citizens of the Lakeside community.
“We are very fortunate. We have got a huge community of people willing to give us stuff,” Angie Fuller-Freeman, an ACE volunteer, said.
ACE is independently run. The school pays for the facilities, but the rest is all up to ACE. The trailer is very organized. The food is all stacked neatly on the shelves and the clothes are all arranged by size. A system is put in place to make sure all of the families’ needs are met. “As the families come in we’re checking them off and giving them their food,” Cathy Hanks said.
There is a stereotype that everyone who attends Lakeside is preppy and rich, but that is not true. About 40% of Lakeside students meet the requirements for a free or reduced school lunch. Nearly 100 families in the district are considered homeless. Many people who need help, and ACE is there to lend a hand.
Each week, ACE gives out food to at least 30 families. Many families would be in serious poverty if it weren’t for ACE. “A lady once told me,’God bless you all. If it weren’t for you we wouldn’t even have shoes on our feet’,” Fuller-Freeman said.
Food is not the only thing that ACE gives out. They give out clothes, laundry pods, toiletries, etc. If a teacher sees that a student is in need of some new clothes, they will come up to ACE and get new clothes for that student. One to two teachers come up to ACE each day.
Lakeside students help ACE with their donations. A food drive was just held at the Lakeside Middle School for ACE. The cheerleaders of the high school once held a “wipe out the competition” drive where they collected toilet paper. An ACE club is also active at the high school. The whole purpose of the club is to help out with ACE. One year the ACE Club held a spring break drive where they collected free hotel soaps and amenities.
People of the community are also eager to help out ACE. The organization posts on Facebook to solicit donations. People in the community will usually bring in donations quickly after something is posted. ACE is almost never low on donations, since people are always bringing them in.
“We are very lucky in that regard,” Fuller-Freeman said.
ACE will continue to help Lakeside families. ACE has done so much already and its absence would leave so many people further disadvantaged.