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6-year old forgoes birthday presents to collect fans for the elderly

AUSTIN (KXAN) -- Kid birthday parties are typically known for cake and presents. But when Sophia Morales was planning her sixth birthday party this year she told her dad she wanted to collect fans instead of gifts.

"It gets really super, duper, hot in the summer," Sophia says.

The idea of collecting something to donate instead of getting presents was started by her dad Robert a few years ago.

"We have a group of friends who are philanthropic and when her birthday came up a couple years ago when she was old enough to make a choice, and at that time she chose food," Robert Morales says. "And at that time she donated 200 pounds of food to the Austin Food Bank in lieu of gifts."

This year she collected 16 fans for Family Eldercare and dropped them off at her local fire station in Southwest Austin. It's a spot Family Eldercare has partnered with to collect and distribute fans to those who can't afford air conditioning.

"A fan can lower your core body temperature by 8 degrees and that can be lifesaving," says Brittany Baize with Family Eldercare.

Since May, Family Eldercare has distributed 1,600 fans thanks to donations. Anyone can drop off a fan at a fire station in Travis, Williamson and Hays counties as well as San Marcos, just like Sophia did.

"We want her to know there are people less fortunate than her in the world," Robert Morales says. "And not everyone is living the lifestyle that her and her sister live. We have been blessed."

And, this six-year-old gains a new perspective of the world around her one birthday at a time.

"They are going to people who don't have a fan and can't afford an air conditioner," Sophia says.


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