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Got plastic bags lying around? You can use them to help the homeless

Wednesday, January 20th 2021, 11:51 am - Here's a way to recycle old grocery bags and help people in need.

Waterloo, Ontario resident Kathy Kibble is turning old grocery bags into sleeping mats for the homeless.

She's using her time at home to crochet the bags into mats, and you can learn more about her technique in the video above.

Here's a Coles Notes version: Kathy takes old bags, folds them, and cut into strips, then ties them together to make 'plastic yarn,' or 'plarn' as it's called online.

The mats are assembled using a basic crochet stitch called 'single crochet.' It's a staple in the tool kit of any seasoned crocheter, and beginners can pick this up in a flash, thanks to numerous YouTube tutorials.

Kibble started the Facebook group 'Bags to sleeping mats' and anyone who wants to join in on any part of the process -- from dropping off bags to creating plarn balls to crocheting the mats -- is welcome.

Kibble says she's affiliated with an outreach program called Beautiful Souls, which sends people out into the community each night in the Kitchener-Waterloo area to distribute food, clothing, supplies, and mats to the homeless.

Once the need runs out locally, the mats will be shared elsewhere, she says.

"I started this initiative, not even a month ago," she says.

"One [mat] went to a woman who was sleeping in a tent ... Another one was given to a gentleman and they planned it so it would be wider so he would be able to lay on it and roll it around himself. Another was given to a woman who was sleeping on a cement floor ... She ended up giving it to somebody who was sleeping outdoors and we've lost track of it now."

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