VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – A church group of volunteers and missionaries is making sleeping mats to give to members of the homeless community.
Some work on the project at home and others meet in a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints building.
They use plastic grocery bags and fold them, cut them, and essentially make them into plastic yarn. Then they crochet the bags into mats measuring six feet by three feet. The idea is to provide a cushion and a moisture barrier for anyone who sleeps outdoors.
“You know we can’t all open our homes to the homeless, but this, we’re able to at least do something,” said Joan Schoppaul, one of the organizers.
Schoppaul says she enjoys seeing a room full of those giving back to the community, and she says it’s been helpful for the young visitors.
“The missionaries had been looking for service projects that they could do indoors and still be able to follow the protocol for COVID protection. There’s nothing better than spending time with our missionaries,” Schoppaul said. “Just having the opportunity to work together and give them encouragement during this difficult time: they haven’t been able to get out and personally get with people.”
Another member of the church, who wishes to remain anonymous, said she and her children were homeless years ago. A friend passed this idea to her, and she thought it was an item that could be very useful.
“Quite honestly, it’s something I wish we had had because we were sleeping on the ground quite a bit,” she explained.
“I realize now how easy it is to get into that situation. I think the statistics I last saw are most Americans are just two paychecks away from being homeless. That’s sobering and it shouldn’t be that way,” she added.
One member of the church made an instructional video for those wanting to learn how to make these mats. Click here to watch it.
If you have plastic grocery bags you'd like to donate to the cause, you can drop them off at the Holland Plaza Barber Shop located at 4302 Holland Plaza Shopping Center, Virginia Beach 23452.