Alumnus gives free face masks


Photo by Obaloluwa Olaniran/Managing Editor for Visual and Multimedia

More than 30,000 free reusable masks and nonperishable goods were given to the Metro-Montgomery community by alumnus Lane Harper, who hosted this giveaway on Feb. 20. Harper is the founder of The Power of Life Foundation, a non-profit organization.

Christine Shelton, Editor-in-Chief

Birmingham, Alabama Police Officer and Alabama State University alumnus Lane Harper hosted a Free Food and Free Mask Giveaway event at the ASU Stadium on Feb. 20.
More than 30,000 free reusable masks and nonperishable goods were given to community members and students in a drive-thru sponsored by The Power of Life Foundation, a non-profit organization founded by Harper.
“I think hosting this event brings not only awareness to COVID, but it uplifts people during this time,” Harper said. “It also brings awareness to Alabama State University. During these times, a lot of our universities enrollment numbers are low, so I want people to be aware that Alabama State University is still just right around the corner. If we can bring something to the city and allow everybody to have one good day during the pandemic, then we’re doing our jobs.”
Harper said he built his foundation in hopes of giving back during COVID. He gives back inside and outside of the precinct. With Harper being in law enforcement for over 20 years, his community outreach is a significant part of who he is. In addition to mask drives, he uses his own money to buy and give away brand-new shoes and clothing to people in the community who are in need.
“The Power of Life is just about the power of affecting someone else’s life, sharing reciprocity and treating people how you would want to be treated, and it’s all about giving back,” Harper said.
His partnership with the university was meant to promote the university’s idea of “CommUniversity,” emphasizing community engagement with the university’s alumni, faculty, staff, and students. In doing this, the community neighboring the university was allowed to drive through and get masks.
“Our partnership with the Power of Life Foundation expands our CommUniversity mission of building upon the University’s tradition and commitment to develop and maintain programs that are responsive to the needs of individual citizens, public groups and agencies in the city of Montgomery and surrounding areas,” said Kenneth Waters, coordinator of Marketing and Communications in the University’s Division of Marketing and Strategic Communications.
Other organizers for the event were present, and the university’s students volunteered to help hand out masks. Sophomore biology major, rehabilitation services minor, and ASU cheerleader Kiondra Woods understands the event’s significance, explaining the difficulty for some people accessing personal protective equipment (PPE).
“I feel like this event is very important, especially on an HBCU campus, because we show that we have support for our Black community, and in these hard times, it is hard to get some supplies and be able to provide these resources to those in need is a great thing,” Woods said.
Symone Moore, junior biology major volunteered at the event because she appreciated how everyone involved still managed to have a good time helping others.
“With everything going on today, it’s a really great day outside, and with coronavirus and everything going on, we’re still following protocol. It’s a great way to get people outside and to enjoy the fresh air safely,” Moore said.
Giving back to the community was the goal, and sophomore forensic science major Gakireya Warren said she enjoyed that part the most.
“It’s nice to be able to give back to my hometown, community, and my school, and it’s a great way to give people hope during a pandemic,” Warren said.
The Michigan native, who studied criminal justice at the university, pointed out that it was important to form this partnership with the university.
“ASU is my school,” Harper said. “You have so many people who have done well and not give back. I wanted to give back to the school that gave so much to me. I want to make a meaningful impact by blessing those who need help. It’s always good to give something back because you never know where your blessings might come from.”