By Jennifer Mayerle

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Five-year-old Axel Grisim Lopez from Lake City is delivering hope, one driftwood cross at a time.

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It’s an idea he and his grandmother Cara Grisim, who he calls “Nana,” came up with while talking about the virus. Axel wants to spread hope everywhere.

Axel’s recent daily activity is searching for just the right piece of driftwood, and then another to match it.

“You take one and then you take the other and cross,” Axel said.

Axel’s Crosses of Hope started when he and Cara went walking by Lake Pepin to talk about why he couldn’t go back to school.

“I think he was kind of hopeless that he wasn’t going to see his friends and have play dates,” Cara said. “He started to look at the wood and pick up the wood and he said we could make Crosses of Hope.”

And so after distance learning is done for the day, along the shore of Lake Pepin is where you’ll find this duo.

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“He matches them up, and then I’ll use the nail gun and put them together, and then he punches the tags and ties the twine on and puts his little peace message,” Cara said.

Axel and Cara then deliver them to people. Their friend Gregg Thomas received one.

“Put things in perspective for us and it was very encouraging,” Gregg said.

At first they gave them to people in their circle, but soon requests came in to mail them to others. They’ve delivered to Florida, South Carolina, New York and Washington state.

“We keep a little Crosses of Hope journal and each day we write down who we deliver,” Cara said.

It’s a special project for a boy and his Nana, with meaning intended to last beyond this pandemic.

“Everyone can’t go anywhere because the sickness, and that’s why I’m spreading hope,” Axel said.

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The family would like to get the crosses to more people, but is figuring out the best way how. Visit the Crosses of Hope Facebook page for more information.

Jennifer Mayerle