J.R. Gilbert, a special needs student with hydrocephaly at Somerset High School, had asked classmates if they had size 13 shoes.
“He was telling me that his shoes didn’t fit him and if I knew someone who wore a size 13. I didn’t,” said Salvador Solis, the student who started the fundraising effort, to NBC News. “It bothered me that one of my friends didn’t have the appropriate things he needed so he could be comfortable. I wanted to do something.”
With the help of Solis’ friends Rodger Villegas and Martin Ramos, the three began asking friends if they could contribute to the fundraising effort. In total, 20 students donated for a total of $180.
Students filmed Gilbert as he unboxed the sneakers and posted the video on Facebook where it has since gone viral being shared over 88,000 times.
Mayor of Somerset Lydia Hernandez said to NBC that since the post from the high school was picked up on social media, people all over Somerset have joined in the spiriting of giving.
“To be able to make someone’s Christmas one to remember, it’s something that’s going to stick with me for a while,” said Solis.