BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Ella Vigil’s dad, Alex, puts up Christmas lights every year to turn on for her birthday on November 24, but their purpose doesn’t stop there
“We do this for my dad just in memory of him because he was such a generous and loving person. We want people the way I grew up. Very loved and supported," said Alex.
Alex’s father, Orlie, grew up putting cardboard in his shoes to make them last, so as a dad, he gave his kids new shoes each Christmas. After Orlie passed away a few years ago, Alex and his wife, Nicole, decided to carry on his legacy.
“We wanted to do something in his honor that would really honor him and also really the community, so we decided to start a nonprofit called Orlie’s Shoe Drive," said Nicole.
Orlie’s Shoe Drive is dedicated to giving children new shoes. The Vigils collect shoes at their house each holiday season, and there’s a drop off center at Valley Baptist Church. Then they donate the shoes to children throughout the community, like at homeless shelters or elementary schools.
“Along with providing shoes to these kiddos and showing the real meaning of Christmas to them came the fun and celebration of people dropping off shoes at our house during the holidays," said Nicole.
Alex starts putting the lights up on November 1, hoping to inspire others to feel the Christmas cheer and help them reach this year’s goal of donating 500 shoes.
“It’s so amazing to see people’s generous hearts, especially around Christmas time and kids, so it’s just a lot of fun," said Alex.
The Vigils are hosting a Covid-friendly movie in the park event Saturday night in front of their house. A Christmas movie will be playing, and you can enjoy hot cocoa and a socially-distanced Santa Claus while dropping off some shoes.
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