In the basement of a Baptist church in Michigan, 85-year-old Newly Chadwick settles into his routine.
“Gotta get them good and tight,” said Chadwick as he stretched strips of a bright-colored old t-shirt then braided the pieces together to create a jump rope.
It's something Chadwick has done each day since January when he set a goal after Operation Christmas Child, the organization he and his wife, Pat Fleming, volunteer with failed to send enough of the classic toy in the boxes OCC ships overseas to kids affected by war and natural disasters.
“One of the guys who packaged the shoeboxes, he said, I wish we would’ve had more jump ropes to send,” said Chadwick. “I figured we didn’t have enough last year, we will this year.”
In just three months, Chadwick has made over 600 jump ropes with t-shirts donated from across the state.
“He gets one done and then he starts another one,” said Fleming. “He gets another done, he starts another one. This is going to bring so much joy and pleasure and exercise to a young child or a whole family.”
Chadwick hopes to reach 1,000 jump ropes made by next November when Operation Christmas Child puts together 2022’s boxes.
“It doesn’t cost them anything except to go through their closet,” said Fleming. “They go through their closet, they pull out the t-shirts, and I can show you some disastrous ones, full of stains, and paint, and holes, and we can work around that.”
It’s a lofty goal that has quickly consumed Chadwick’s days, but he says it’s worth it to make a child smile.
“Just to make the kids happy that they got something, a little toy, to skip rope with,” said Chadwick.
To make a t-shirt donation, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This story was originally published by WXMI in Grand Rapids, Michigan.