BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — During the holidays, Nicole and Alex Vigil’s house immediately gets your attention. That’s their goal, for a special purpose.
"When they ask [you], 'Why do you put up so much lights?' and you can tell them about the story of Orlie’s Shoe Drive and give them an opportunity to come drop off shoes," said Alex.
Shoes are the main focus behind their nonprofit, Orlie’s Shoe Drive.
"I think it just kind of resonates with people, something so simple," said Alex. "Shoes are something that people often don’t think about as a need for kids."
Alex’s father, Orlie, passed away six years ago. As a kid, Orlie’s family struggled to afford new shoes. So growing up, Alex received new shoes every Christmas from his dad.
Orlie’s Shoe Drive was created in honor of him, and the community’s support has made all the difference.
"We share what our heart is and people have stepped right behind us and helped us out," said Nicole.
Orlie’s Shoe Drive collects donations and then gives new pairs of shoes to children in need across Kern County.
But those children aren’t the only ones who benefit.
“A lot of people that we know, they will have their kids go get shoes that are their kid's sizes for other children in the community," said Nicole. "I think it’s a really cool learning lesson and something that's so tangible that at such a young age, you can learn [to] help others," said Nicole.
This will be their third annual shoe drive. So far, they’re collected over a thousand pairs.
“To have the community involved is something that is really exciting because that just means we can help more kids in our community and it can just grow," said Nicole.
The nonprofit has grown over the years and so has the Vigil family. But what hasn’t changed is the dedication to helping everyone feel the holiday spirit.
Local businesses have also gotten involved this year with collection boxes at their locations. Visit the Orlie’s Shoe Drive Facebook page or website to learn more about making a donation and supporting them year-round.