Deciding what to wear each of these past 30 days has been an easy one for Kalie Tripp.
That’s because she wore the same red T-shirt every single one of those days and got quite a few other people to join her in the cause.
“We’re wearing this T-shirt for 30 days because some people only have one. My favorite shirt could be their only shirt,” she said. “About 500 students in Wisconsin and northern Michigan are doing it with me.”
The front of the red T-shirt says, “My favorite shirt,” while the back says, “We can help. Ask me how.”
Tripp, who is a junior at Waupaca High School, decided to do this after learning that a Minnesota girl started the idea two years ago.
Tripp’s father, Steve, works at Assembly of God’s district office in Waupaca. He heard about what the girl did in Minnesota and shared the information with his daughter last summer.
“Can I do that?” Tripp asked.
When Tripp and her mother, Kristie, went to Vietnam that same summer to visit Tripp’s grandmother, she had already decided to do it.
“I would see people and see them the next day, wearing the same thing. I knew it was right,” she said.
Tripp’s grandmother is a missionary in Vietnam, and through an organization called Speed the Light, she received a motorbike to help her get around Ho Chi Minh City.
The students involved in the T-shirt project are raising funds for Speed the Light, a student-initiated, volunteer, charitable program in which Assemblies of God students raise money to provide equipment for missionaries throughout the world.
Tripp, who attends Pathways Church in Appleton, said the goal for all who participating in the T-shirt project is to raise $50,000.
Proceeds from the sale of the T-shirts, as well as donations the students have received, will go toward it.
At WHS, Tripp was joined by students Jessica Borntrager, Hannah Piencikowski, Cheyenne Werich and Kayla Wiegert in wearing the red T-shirts during the month of November.
“It’s showing love and providing things other people need,” Wiegert said.
Werich said it is about reaching out to others, and Borntrager said they stood up for what they believe in.
Piencikowski said, “It’s making a difference and not concentrating on our needs but thinking of others.”
Tripp’s parents and her younger siblings – Lexi, Gunner and Maci – also wore the T-shirts.
“We wash our T-shirts every night. Mom just says, ‘Red shirts,'” Tripp said. “Lots of people like it, because it’s easy to put on a T-shirt and help.”
Tripp designed the T-shirt, deciding on red for its color because it is bright.
“It’s not a fashion statement. It is standing out – trying to make a difference,” she said.
Five-hundred T-shirts were ordered, and at the end of October, Tripp got on stage at a youth convention in La Crosse and made her pitch to the approximately 2,000 people in attendance.
“We sold 400 at the event,” she said. “Through people wearing them at their schools, other people said it was so cool, so I had to order again.”
The project began on Nov. 1 and ended on Nov. 30.
The first few days that Tripp wore her T-shirt to school, she heard such comments as, “Why do you keep wearing that shirt?”
After she explained the project, people thought it was a good one.
Teachers made pledges, and one student opted to give Tripp whatever change was in her pocket instead of making a trip to the vending machine at school.
Tripp says it will feel weird not putting on the same red T-shirt every day.
“The people we are trying to help might only have one shirt. It puts things into perspective,” she said. “You’re making a decision for 30 days for others. It could be their shirt for the whole year.”