Amherstburg Soccer Club collects used uniforms for a cause


By Jolene Perron


In 2007, a pair of avid soccer playing sisters from LaSalle started a movement, which has now made its way into Amherstburg

Melissa and Erica Iarusso both played in school and competitive soccer teams growing up.

“While in high school the pair noticed that they had accumulated jerseys from over the years that had been going to waste sitting in boxes in their basement,” said Brittney Lawrence, LaSalle Centennial Rotary Club liaison for the Interact Club LaSalle. “The idea sprung to host a collection at their local high school, to find a way to gather all used uniforms and donate them to individuals who could put them to use. In addition to their individual project, Melissa and Erica formed a partnership with the LaSalle Stompers Soccer Club for players to donate their jerseys annually.”

Lawrence explained the two were not Rotarians at the time, but they did find out there was a need for jerseys in other countries around the world. This lead the two to connect with Rotarian Shelly Dubin, who Lawrence said, had travelled to several countries and had noticed there were house league teams being started in these countries.

The LaSalle Centennial Rotary Club collected gently used soccer uniforms at Amherstburg’s Day of Champions July 29, which will be donated to countries in need.

The LaSalle Centennial Rotary Club collected gently used soccer uniforms at Amherstburg’s Day of Champions July 29, which will be donated to countries in need.

“A group of local Rotarians from Windsor Clubs have continuously been traveling to various countries and bringing along with them the donated uniforms,” said Lawrence. “From 2007 to present over 2,000 uniforms have been collected; ranging from house league jerseys, socks, shorts, competitive jerseys and soccer gear.”

Lawrence said funding for the trips comes from the respective clubs and international projects.

Since starting this project, Melissa and Erica have both become members of the Rotary Club of LaSalle Centennial, and even when they moved out of town to pursue their careers in Toronto, the Rotary Club wanted to keep it going under their Interact Club.

“This past May the Interact club was approached by the Amherstburg Soccer Club and asked to host collection bins for used uniforms, so that Amherstburg families could participate,” said Lawrence. “The Interact club was honored to collect uniforms on the Day of Champions July 29 at the Libro Centre in Amherstburg. Due to the great success of the collection, a bin will be located in the Libro Centre for the week of July 31 to August 5. Used soccer jerseys, soccer socks and shorts are welcomed.”

The final day of the collection will occur Aug. 13 at the Day of Champions in LaSalle.

Terry Sawchuk, Amherstburg Soccer Club president said he feels they are very fortunate to be in a position to do this collection.

“Our kids have so much more available to them and this is a small way to ‘pay if forward’ and essentially clean out our closets, and to the recipient of these uniforms, it could mean so much more,” said Sawchuk. “In essence we could have a team being represented in either one of those African countries from ‘Amherstburg’ which I think is a great notion. This is an extremely small thing we can do, that could have a huge impact on these other children’s lives.”

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