A holiday tradition along the Milpas Street corridor is 22 years strong this season.
The Kids Day event at the Eyeglass Factory happens this weekend at 1 S. Milpas Street from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.
Each year, on the Sunday before Christmas, children from low-income families who are having trouble with their vision can have a free eye exam and pick out a free pair of eyeglasses.
“What sealed the deal for all time was on that first Kids Day back in 1994, I leaned down to a little girl who had just put on her new glasses and said, ‘What do those glasses mean to you, little girl?’ And she said, ‘Well, look (put on her glasses) now I can see.’ And if that doesn’t move you, I don’t know what will.”
Owner Rick Feldman told NewsChannel 3 that one out of four children, up to the age of 18, has problems with vision and needs eyeglasses.
“Once the kids are fitted and leave with the glasses we tell them, ‘If you have a problem, if you lose them or break them, which you probably will, come on back and get another pair,’ because what’s the good of helping them that one time if we can’t be continually in touch with them and continue to help them?” Feldman said.
For the first time during the annual event, 200 lunches will be provided by the Santa Barbara Unified School District’s food truck, thanks to the efforts of director Nancy Weiss. Feldman said the Clinic on Wheels (COW) will also be on site, giving out free flu shorts.
“There’s a lot of kids out there achieving and doing well in professions and other things that got their start by coming here on the Sunday before Christmas and getting glasses,” Feldman said.