MCALLEN, Texas – Nearly 5 years ago the Aguirre family would have a life changing experience on a trip to the grocery store. It was a cold and rainy day when their youngest daughter Emily noticed a homeless man and had many questions.
Emily Aguirre said, “I asked my dad where does he sleep? Where does he eat? Where does he go to the bathroom? Where’s his mom and where’s his dad?”
Her father tried to answer some of those questions.
Rick Aguirre, “Well that bugged her so much that day because she kept on asking me questions that I as a dad have difficulty explaining to a 5½ or 6 year old.”
After buying the man a meal and unable to satisfy his daughter curiosity the Aguirre family decided to give back.
As a Catholic family and with the season of Lent upon them they decided instead of giving up something, they would feed a homeless person everyday throughout the 40 days of Lent.
Rick Aguirre would share his story with others in his church and daughters’ schools. Many wanted to join in to help so they broke up into teams and took action.
“We started feeding 40 people everyday for the 40 days of lent.” said Mr. Aguirre.
That was four and a half years ago and they are still feeding families everyday.
Coni Aguirre, mother, “We knew their names, we knew their stories and we said we couldn’t stop, so a big group of us decided to continue on.”
The family created Emily’s Meals. They have a Facebook page where they can post what they need to continue their mission. Even turning a donated trailer into a shower.
Erika Aguirre, sister, “Now we have a big trailer that’s got two showers and then in the back it’s got racks with towels, shampoo, shoes and clothes. After they are done showering they can get a new pair of clothes and they are nice and clean.”
The family’s efforts have not gone unnoticed. They have been nominated for the first ever Disney Points of Light Volunteer Family of the Year. Out of 400 families they have made the top 30 with a chance of making the top 5.
Sandra Bitner, “I think it’s wonderful. I think it’s just a great way to have a positive ripple effect in the community and changing the world one life at a time.”
That ripple effect is exactly what the family hopes can happen.
Coni Aguirre, mother, “What’s eye opening about this is that if a six year old can have and idea like this, why couldn’t all of us be able to do this in our own communities because homeless are everywhere.”
If selected, the Aguirre family will receive a week-long dream vacation to the Walt Disney World Resort, as well as a $10,000 grant for the Juan Diego Academy, who nominated the family.
To vote for the family you can visit: https://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2019/10/vote-for-the-disney-and-points-of-light-volunteer-family-of-the-year/