Thanks to the efforts of local families, about 100 Guatemalan children will receive soccer jerseys, shorts and socks to wear when they’re playing their favourite sport.
Amanda Pagnotta, her husband Joe and their three boys, all soccer players, were busy last week sorting and folding items to be shipped to Guatemala, some donated by members of NOTL Soccer Club, others brand new, found in the far reaches of the club’s equipment room in the Virgil arena.
The soccer mom had decided it was time to clean out the room, and realized during her foraging there were several uniforms purchased for teams in past years, and never used.
There are often extra jerseys ordered and not needed, she said, and rather than throwing out the stockpile from years gone by, she decided to sort the leftovers and put them to good use.
“There were lots of new things piled up and pushed to the back. They could have been accumulating over a period of 15 years or more,” says Pagnotta.
She connected with Wells of Hope to ask if soccer uniforms would be appreciated, and was told “everyone in Guatemala is very interested in soccer and they’re always asking for uniforms for the kids.”
The soccer club also put out a bin at the arena last spring and asked for used uniforms to be dropped off, and left it for about three weeks into the hockey season for hockey parents who might have soccer items to donate.
She recently began washing, sorting and boxing the donations, in preparation for having them taken by Wells of Hope to Guatemala.
She has matched jerseys, socks and shorts so that each child will receive a whole kit, and has purchased socks to complete the uniforms where necessary. Everything will be packed and ready to go, with about 10 sets of new uniforms and up to 100 used ones, she says.
“I think all who donated have felt good about this, knowing the uniforms are going to a really good cause, for kids from about three years old up to 18. Everybody did such a good job — it’s a nice gift for the kids to receive, and I’m super happy my family could be a part of it. It’s been a good learning experience for the boys, to hear that they could pass on their things for others to use. They’re beginning to understand that we have so much, we can help others who are less fortunate.”
There are also some soccer balls, a few sets of shin pads and goalie shirts to go with the shipment.
She expects it’s something the soccer club could do every few years, she says, and hopes in the meantime soccer parents will hold on to the uniforms their kids outgrow.
Ted VanderZalm of Wells of Hope will send the boxes of uniforms to Guatemala with a shipment of drilling equipment and other supplies, and will be there to ensure the uniforms are properly distributed, he says.
The soccer club president, Ted VanderKaay has been to Guatemala with Wells of Hope in the past, Amanda says, and took some soccer balls and uniforms with him.
“He said there were people waiting for the equipment, running behind the truck as things were dropped off. He didn’t have nearly enough for everyone. A few soccer balls means the world to them.”