Lisa Acevedo and Tammy Heydon have been friends since junior high. Acevedo lives in the south end and Heydon lives on Mercer Island.
Acevedo is a learning specialist at Evergreen Heights Elementary.
During a recent phone conversation, Acevedo was relaying the story of one of her students who had holes in his shoes and whose parents could not afford a new pair. This led to them discussing the differences between the students Acevedo teaches and most of the students who attend Mercer Island schools. Almost 40 percent of Evergreen Heights students qualify for free or reduced lunch.
Heydon offered to ask some friends for some gently used clothing and shoes that Acevedo could keep on hand for students. She had no idea how overwhelming the response would be. After a post on Facebook, her community responded with vigor.
Last week, Heydon and a small army delivered eight van loads of gently used and new clothing for distribution to Evergreen Heights students. Her friends and family, who do not have elementary-aged students, went shopping and purchased dozens of pairs of shoes and new clothing, too. About 60 people contributed to the effort and the results were astounding.
“We spent more than 12 hours a day for four days sorting the clothes by sizes,” Acevedo said. “Our families are going to be so excited.”
During parent conferences last Thursday, Acevedo, Heydon and numerous volunteers set up a dozen tables loaded with clothes in the gym. Families were invited to browse the vast selection and take what they need.
There was so much donated, Evergreen Heights will have an emergency supply of coats, hats, shoes and gloves. The remaining clothes will be distributed at other Auburn schools.
“This was an incredible opportunity for our families,” said Anne Gayman, Evergreen Heights principal. “Who knew a phone conversation would turn into this?”