MOUNT CARMEL — Last year, Wabash County churches and families made more than 500 shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child through Samaritan's Purse.
The shoeboxes are filled with toys, school supplies, hygienic items and clothing for children ages 2 to 14 from across the world. In addition to getting a gift, the kids in more than 100 different countries have the opportunity to hear about Jesus Christ through Christian evangelism.
Area churches have already begun preparing items for shoeboxes this year, and one local business is going to host a fun and charitable event to help.
"People from years and years ago that received a shoebox when they were a kid and then came to Christ were just totally blown away by this gift because they had never received anything like this before," said MC Deming, owner of MTC Fit. "It's actually really really cool. So some kids who have never been given a Christmas gift before are going to be getting a shoebox."
Deming, owner and operator of the local group fitness classes and a member of Parkview Christian Church, is spearheading the effort to make more that 50 t-shirt jump ropes for girls ages 10 to 14 within the Operation Christmas Child program, and hopefully more for area kids as well. The jump ropes are going to be a "wow" item for the girls, while the church is going to purchase mini soccer balls for the boys in that age group.
"Judy Majors from Parkview sent a YouTube tutorial out about how to make a jump rope out of t-shirts saying 'Wouldn't this be cool?' but realized it would take a lot of work to make it happen," Deming said.
Deming knew she had a lot of people who would be willing to help through MTC Fit, so she began to organize an event that would be both fun and educational for kids and enlisting the help of parents to braid dozens of t-shirts into jump ropes.
Monday, June 19, Deming will be hosting a free double dutch clinic for kids, while parents help make the t-shirt jump ropes. The clinic will be held right after MTC Fit's 3-2-1 Shred class, which begins at 9:30 and ends at 10:05 a.m.
"I always like to add a fun factor to anything that I'm doing — if I'm leading something up I want it to be fun, I want it to be worth their time," Deming said. "That's why I added the double dutch clinic. When I taught it as a P.E. teacher the kids went nuts — it was like all of a sudden their eyes were open that this is so much fun!"
Lessons on how to double dutch will be geared towards second graders and up, but childcare will be available for younger kids at the event while parents are making jump ropes.
MC said she has plenty of t-shirts, but needs even more hands to make the ropes. Each jump rope takes 15 to 40 minutes to make depending on the length of the rope and the speed of the person braiding.
For more information, visit the MTC Fit Facebook page.