Wizards soccer player helps Lawrence High senior collect donations
Kids in Sierra Leone can look forward to barrels arriving sometime soon, filled with new and gently used soccer jerseys, T-shirts, shorts and soccer balls.
All courtesy of Laurel Nagengast, and the generous donors who delivered dozens of items to her Wednesday evening in the Lawrence High School parking lot.
“This is amazing,” she said.
Laurel, a senior at Lawrence High, organized the 90-minute collection event that drew a steady stream of deliveries: armfuls of jerseys, inflated-but-soon-to-be-deflated soccer balls, and even a referee’s shirt.
The biggest donation: boxes of brand-new T-shirts dropped off by none other than Kei Kamara, leading scorer for the Kansas City Wizards and member of the Sierra Leone national team.
Kamara made the 45-minute drive to deliver a dozen or so used balls and more than 60 T-shirts — each depicting the Wizards’ new soccer stadium — to Nagengast, whose family plans to send all the items to the country in western Africa, where Laurel’s dad, Dan, had served in the Peace Corps more than 30 years ago.
“If somebody’s doing something to help my country, I don’t care if it’s a two-hour drive,” Kamara said. “I’m still going to get there and help a little bit. … I just told (Laurel), if she ever gets down to Sierra Leone, I’ll make sure they welcome her with warm hands. It’ll be nice.”
Laurel, for her part, got the idea while watching the World Cup in Africa. Kids in
Africa need clothing and balls for soccer, she figured, and plenty of Lawrence families certainly have drawers filled with perfectly acceptable uniforms and practice jerseys they don’t need anymore.
“We thought, what better thing to do than just donate all this stuff that we’re not using? — that would be a great blessing to the kids that are over there,” Laurel said.
Laurel’s still accepting donations, before the Nagengasts pack up all the items into barrels for shipping.
For more information about how to donate, e-mail Laurel at firstname.lastname@example.org.