Courtesy photo Nardy and Alexcy Vega at their recent annual Christmas party at their Lawrence home where $1,000 was collected in gift cards and cash for charitable causes.
LAWRENCE — High school sweethearts and longtime city employees Nardy and Alexcy Vega (GLTS class of 1992) are the first to admit they have much to be thankful for.
So, several years ago, they asked their family and friends to help them pay it forward.
The result was more than $1,000 in cash and gift card donations they collected at their annual Christmas party earlier this month.
“We are lucky enough to have what we have. But we know there is a need in Lawrence,” said Nardy (Mendez) Vega, who is a guidance counselor at Lawrence High School.
On the evening of Saturday, Dec. 9, the Vegas hosted their party where guests were asked to “dress to impress,” and an array of appetizers and cocktails were served at their Cornish Road home.
The guests at the adult party “look nice, have good food and great cocktails without the kids,” Nardy Vega explained.
Every guest was asked to bring a gift card for Market Basket which would be donated to the needy.
For those that forgot or didn’t realize, a hat was passed during the party and cash collected.
Alexcy Vega, who is the city’s chief assessor, said his longtime buddy who he said is like a brother to him, Marco Ayala (GLTS Class of 1992), helped gather up the donations.
Between gift cards and cash, some $1,000 was collected. The donations were then split and half donated to the Daybreak Homeless Shelter and the other to Heal Lawrence, a nonprofit that assists fire victims and others in need, they said.
The party this year coincided with a snowstorm. Yet, about 45 of the 70 regulars at the party showed up, Alexcy Vega said.
The following day, after the storm cleared, he said guests who couldn’t make it asked him to come by and get their gift cards.
The Vega’s party is an 18-year tradition now for the couple who will celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary this August. They have two sons, Alexcy, 13, a seventh-grader, and Adrian, 10, who is in the fifth grade.
In recent years, guests were also asked to bring mittens and socks as Vega party donations. For the past two years, they have collected gift cards at the party.
Nardy Vega said she doesn’t necessarily want their annual party to get any bigger. But she’s hoping others will follow their lead and perhaps plan their own parties and celebrations with similar missions.
“There are a lot of us who are lucky enough to make through the struggles and be the professionals we are today…You can be something and do something with your life,” she said.
But she noted, “The other side is doing something for your community.”
Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter @EagleTribJill.