Did you know that over 150 million people worldwide are homeless? In addition to this somber fact, according to the United Nations, up to 1.6 billion people also have inadequate housing. Not only is this a growing problem, but many of these people lack bedding, appropriate clothes for the seasons and need more food. However, many organizations are working to help alleviate this ongoing issue.

One organization, Homeless MATters, taught my friends and me how to create mats to help the less fortunate. When I volunteered with Homeless MATters, I learned how they provide mats to get people experiencing homelessness off the concrete and provide them with personal hygiene items, socks, and some food. While most items are donated, the mats are made by hand. This is where my interest was piqued. After speaking with the owner of the charitable organization, I decided to put together a group of friends to learn how to crochet these mats for the homeless.

While there are many steps, the process is quite simple. First, to make these mats, we had to learn how to flatten old grocery bags and cut them into “strips.” Next, those “strips” were looped together to form a long plastic chain. Then, we could crochet them together using balls of cut-up plastic bags as yarn. Using a double stitch crochet, it takes between 9 and 15 hours to complete just one mat.

 This inexpensive material (plastic bags) is easy to get your hands on and helps keep plastic out of our landfills. Also, this product provides a comfortable bed and insulates against heat and cold. This simple way of reducing plastic is straightforward but offers the benefit of giving bedding to help the less fortunate.


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