NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) - Christiana and Cassandra Layman were positive a couple of decades of soccer uniforms should not go to waste in their closets.
But the 2 North Kingstown teens could only dream that donating their gear would kick start a collection of hundreds of uniforms and other soccer necessities for one of the poorest countries in the world.
"They're going somewhere else for a new life," Cassandra says, sorting through a rainbow of shirts. "It's just a great thought."
And a great boost for Haiti, 2 years removed from an earthquake that flattened entire neighborhoods and left impoverished children with even less.
The sisters started with their own closets but soon they had a bounty of about 500 uniforms from several soccer leagues.
"Not just North Kingstown. It's Warwick, Cranston, Coventry. A lot of towns," Christiana says.
The goal was to send it all to the U.S. Soccer Foundation's Passback program that has sent almost 800,000 pieces of gear around the world. But soon, in a true Rhode Island story, the word got out and the sisters' effort grew.
After hearing how the Layman girls motivated dozens of families to fill dozens of boxes, 2 local businesses stepped up too. Ocean State Job Lot kicked in 32-hundred pairs of shoes and Arpin Van Lines drove the haul down to North Carolina.
"It's humbling," Christiana says. "To realize that when you're putting in the time counting and packaging every uniform and now it's going to someone who really needs it."
"You think that, Wow, I have a room and a house full of all kinds of clothing," her sister adds. "All kinds of things that we just take for granted."
The Laymans, who attend Bay View Academy in East Providence , are not quite done with their project. They're challenging other towns to get involved but they believe it goes beyond soccer, pointing out the uniforms might be among the few pieces of clothing the Haitian children have.
"There's going to be people who open up a box of shoes like this," Christiana says. "And they're going to say, wow! These are mine. Which may be something they can't say otherwise."