Indiana News

Church uses plastic bags to craft sleeping mats for homeless

BRAZIL, Ind. (WTWO) — Many might not see see them, but there are homeless people living in communities all across the Wabash Valley.

A Clay County woman has made it her mission to help them.

But she isn’t just providing them with food and clothes through a church ministry — she’s added something that will make their days and nights more comfortable.

She’s doing it one mat at a time.

Plastic shopping bags are in big demand at Benwood Mt. Lebanon Church in Brazil.

It’s because the bags are transformed into sleeping mats for the homeless.

Charlotte Reyher got the idea from a Facebook page.

And in March, she incorporated the project into the church’s ministry to help the homeless.

“This would give them a barrier from the cold. It would give them some warmth in the winter time. And it would just be something they could use and maybe make their life a little easier.” says Reyher, who started Sleeping Mats for the Homeless at Benwood Mt. Lebanon Church.

Making the mats is pretty simple.

First, bags are smoothed before being cut into strips, called plarn (plastic yarn).

“So, we make yarn from plastic bags and keep them from the landfills,” says Rossanne Adams, a volunteer.

The plarn is tied together, then crocheted or woven together on a weaving loom.

These good folks are not just making mats; they’re also crocheting carrying straps, pillows and even backpacks.

They’re lightweight handmade items.

And the volunteers have faith their work will bring some comfort, one mat at a time, to Hoosiers who are homeless.

Soon, Rehyer will take the plastic sleeping mats to groups in Indianapolis, to be distributed to the homeless.

If you’d like to learn how to make them, contact Charlotte Reyer on her Facebook page: Hoosiers Helping the Homeless… 1 Mat at a Time.