SAVOY, Ill. (WCCU) — A 98-year-old Savoy veteran taught himself to sew so he could make quilts for children in need.
His name is Theron Jennings and he is still going strong, making the quilts out of his little apartment.
Believe it or not, he has made more than 500 quilts in four years.
“That's all I do,” Jennings jokes. “I ain’t got nothing else to do."
It's part of Samaritan’s Purse’s Operation Christmas Child that delivers shoeboxes to children in need around the world.
Jennings said he does it so “kids in other countries could have a cover at night.”
He said it took a little practice, never sewing a stitch in his life. Thankfully, he remembered a few tricks from his mom back in the day during the Great Depression.
“I did very little sewing before then. I had to teach myself,” Jennings said.
And it came with its challenges with thread knotting up on him and having to recently learn how to operate a new sewing machine.
But Jennings kept chugging along.
“I get tired, but I work most of the day,” he said.
Each shoebox he sends comes with a personal note, along with toys, hygiene items and crayons. Many of his family members help him pack the boxes—impressed by his ambition.
“He is still at it,” said son-in-law Bob Whattoff. “This is his most productive year at age 98, can you believe that?"
Jennings’ family is thankful for his health all these years.
“God is giving him the health, the energy and the skills and good mind to be able to do this,” Whattoff said. “And the good hands!"
Jennings has also served in other ways, as an army staff sergeant in World War II. There is even a wreath on his door showing his dog tags.
Jennings is proving no matter how old you get, you can always make a difference.
“I think if you stay busy, it keeps you more healthy,” he said.
This week, Samaritan’s Purse is collecting the shoeboxes. You can find how to get involved and drop off locations here.
If you are interested in donating fabric to Jennings, you can contact his daughter Debbie Whattoff at (217) 766-6883.