A pair of ambitious seventh-graders from Our Lady of the Hamptons School are busy collecting new and used T-shirts so they can make clothes for underprivileged children living in Third World countries.
The girls, Kate Wilkie and Olivia Valle, both 12 and from Hampton Bays, started the project earlier this year as part of their commitment to the Junior National Honor Society. The girls were inducted on May 1 and must complete a service project as part of their initiation.
To meet that requirement, they are collecting T-shirts of all colors and patterns—as long as they are a size large or bigger—and using the material to make shorts. The shorts will then be mailed to boys in Third World countries this summer as part of their “Britches for Boys” initiative.
The girls got the idea after talking to Kate’s mother, Kerry Wilkie, who has a friend on the North Fork who oversees a similar project, but for dresses. She put them in touch with Marguerite Schondebare, who assists with the “Dresses for Girls” program and who will also be helping the girls with their sewing duties.
“We thought it was very unique,” Kate said this week. “We never heard about it before and I wasn’t sure how we are going to make the shirts into shorts, but it will be fun.”
The shirts can be dropped off at Southampton Stationery on Hampton Road through Saturday, June 8. To date, the girls have collected approximately 60 T-shirts, and will be hosting a sewing party on Sunday, June 9, from 2 to 4 p.m., at the Basilica Parish of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary on Hill Street.
Together, with the help of about 60 Girl Scouts from their group, Unit 62, the girls will transform the shirts into shorts.
“I have never taken any sewing lessons on a machine,” Olivia said. “But Marguerite will show us.”
Ms. Schondebare, who is from Southold, will then transport the shorts, along with various medical supplies, overseas through a program called “Mission to Heal.”
Students at Our Lady of the Hamptons School can bring their donated shirts to the school through the end of May. Others are asked to drop off their donations at Southampton Stationery during regular business hours.
Shirts can have a pattern or design on them and can be any color, but must be a size large or bigger, the girls stressed. The shirts cannot have collars, long sleeves or turtlenecks, they added.