The project prevents the non-recyclable bags from ending up in a landfill and provides a durable sleeping mat for people experiencing homelessness, said Kaitlin Barker, Women of the Moose Chapter 347 board member.
Barker organized the project after she and her mother, Maureen Barker, saw an old newscast about plastic bag mats online.
“I really like crocheting and wanted to do something that could help the homeless but wouldn’t take all my time,” Barker said. “And I wanted it to be a community project where everyone could help.”
The Women of the Moose have so far made six mats that measure about 4 feet by 6 feet and are 2 inches thick. The mats are waterproof and can easily be rinsed off if they get dirty, Maureen Barker said. The plastic insulates from the cold ground.
The Women of the Moose asked members of the Moose Lodge to bring in plastic bags from home to use in the project.
Brenda Bell, of the Religious Coalition for Emergency Human Needs, picked up the mats from the Women of the Moose at their Wednesday night meeting. The Women of the Moose also presented Mike Greenberg from the Frederick Rescue Mission with a $200 donation.
“They are very impressive,” Bell said. The mats will go toward helping the 40 to 50 Frederick residents who are homeless and sleep outside each night.
“There is a lot of love in those plastic bags,” Greenberg said. “I can feel it.”
Each mat requires about 800 bags, Barker said. The bags are cut into strips and tied together and rolled into balls, like yarn. Then the strips are crocheted into a mat. Each one takes about 20 hours of crocheting, not including the time spent sorting the bags by color and cutting them. The Women of the Moose got help with sorting and cutting from a group of Boy Scouts doing a service project.
“It is definitely a group project, group effort,” Barker said. “We wouldn’t have these done without the people helping me.”
Women of the Moose member Linda Castanhf crocheted all six mats, with many others helping out cutting and sorting the bags. Castanhf even amended the design to add a rope made of plastic bags that can be used to tie and carry the mats.
“I would have never thought of making anything from those bags before,” Castanhf said.
The Women of the Moose said they plan to keep making more mats and distributing them to Frederick’s homeless. And the group isn’t close to running out of material.
“I thought maybe we’d get enough for one mat,” Maureen Barker said. “People are still bringing them even though we told them to stop.”
Source : https://www.fredericknewspost.com/news/social_issues/women-of-the-moose-crochet-grocery-bags-into-mats-for/article_f4a88f65-6b1b-5108-bdea-51287dbe18db.html