Turn Shopping Bags into Sleeping Mats for the Homeless

By Marj Pond*

sleeping-mat-projectAbout a year ago at Faith UMC in Ashland (Mid-Ohio District) we began a project that transforms recycled shopping bags into sleeping mats for homeless people.  First, the bags are folded, cut, and looped to make plarn.  Then the plarn – an abbreviation for plastic yarn – is woven into a mat.  It takes 500 plastic bags to make a sleeping mat.  To date, our church has made 45 mats that have been given to Harmony House in Mansfield for distribution to those in need.

Harmony House provides lodging, food, case management, and assistance to homeless men, women, and children.  The staff hand out mats to people who have no place to live, as well as to people who have housing but don’t have a bed.  Harmony House provides services to 600 people a year, and the mats are going out as fast as they are dropped off!

The church is blessed that our sleeping mat ministry is receiving some big help from Foundation Academy of Mansfield. The charter school for students in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade recently held a contest to collect recyclable items. The students and staff collected 13,000 shopping bags that will be used to make a softer place to sleep for a lot of homeless people!

Faith UMC and Foundation Academy of Mansfield are making a BIG difference to benefit the environment and to help the homeless!  You can help make a difference too.

Click on the video link above to see how you can turn your plastic shopping bags into plarn.  Then bring, or ship, your plarn to:

Faith UMC
1574 State Route 96 East
Ashland, OH  44805

*Marj Pond is a member of Faith United Methodist Church in Ashland.