National News

Women Crochet Grocery Bags Into Sleeping Mats For Boston Homeless

Posted December 15, 2017 3:59 p.m. EST

— A group of women are on a mission to comfort the homeless, transforming the most basic material, plastic bags, into something helpful and beautiful.

They're folding, cutting and weaving mats by hand using recyclable grocery bags. All to help the homeless who have no choice, but to sleep outdoors.

"The mat protects you from the dampness of the ground, then you have a blanket or something on top of it and you can sleep on it," said Judy O'Brien, who started the project.

About a dozen women from Winter Valley Senior Living in Milton have been meeting once a week for the past year.

"It ends up being social, too," said volunteer Helene McNamara. "Getting to know each other."

O'Brien says she got the idea from Facebook and convinced her neighbors to join the cause.

"Neither of us could crochet," said O'Brien. "So, we hustled down to Edith, who can crochet, and asked 'Can we do this?'"

A single mat will cost you 700 grocery bags and countless hours of work.

"We do this year-round! I mean, it's something we can do and we're able to do and it feels good to do it. There's always going to be homeless people," O'Brien said.

The women have made about 15 mats that'll be delivered to the Pine Street Inn in Boston. Fifteen homeless people who will sleep a little more comfortably this winter.

"You can lay on this with a blanket over it," McNamara said. "It's a lot more than they had before."