One Washington Township baseball fan is taking his love for the game and using it to put a twist on the tradition of sending letters to U.S. troops stationed overseas.
Billy Cook, 12, is collecting baseballs and having people write messages on them so the troops get both an uplifting note and a ball to play catch.
Billy, a member of Temple Beth Or, is organizing the effort as part of his Bar‐Mitzvah project.
"I wanted to do something special and unique, and baseball is my passion," Billy said.
So far, Billy has gathered about 100 balls, and he aims to obtain as many as 500. He sat at the George School table during the Washington Township Family Fun Festival last weekend and got so many notes that they ran out of balls and people were adding second notes to already-signed balls.
"They were great," Billy said of festival attendees. "They were very supportive."
Billy found he was able to clean gently-used baseballs, so he's seeking donations to use for the project. They're also looking for other people who may be interested in expanding the program elsewhere. To reach out, email his mom, Phylisse Cook, at email@example.com.