Senior Makes Mats to Help the Homeless
Every grocery bag must be folded multiple times and then cut into strips
WASILLA - Giving back to the community can take many forms, but a senior citizen in Wasilla has hit on a unique way to help others.
Sandy Giddens has always liked to knit and crochet, but not long ago Giddens read an article in a national magazine that inspired her. It talked about crocheting with plastic grocery bags, to make projects that Giddens knew could help the homeless.
She started collecting the plastic grocery bags that most people consider trash. Next, she gathered a few friends from the Wasilla Senior Center and went to work. Before long she had finished crocheting her first plastic sleeping mat for homeless people.
“It keeps them off the damp ground,” says Giddens, picking up one of the six-foot long mats. “If they have a blanket they can roll it up, and put a string, or rope around it and carry it everywhere because it rolls up pretty small.”
The mats are waterproof and strong. They are supposed to make sleeping on the ground more comfortable.
Giddens hopes to make as many as possible, but the process isn’t as easy as you might think.
Every grocery bag must be folded multiple times and then cut into strips. The strips are then knotted together to form a continuous strand of “parn” or platicized yarn, which can then be crocheted into different items.
Each mat also requires up to 700 bags and plenty of man hours. But Giddens says that’s not the point of making the sleeping mats.
“I’m hoping it means something to somebody, but if it doesn’t, I feel good about what I'm doing,” says Giddens.
She says any help would be appreciated, or she’s happy to teach the simple skills so that someone can start a project on their own. If you’d like to get rid of plastic grocery bags she will take them too. They can be dropped off at the Senior Center in Wasilla.