PEI

P.E.I. woman crochets plastic mats to help the homeless stay dry

A group of P.E.I. women are helping the homeless in a unique but crafty way. Marilyn O'Connor and her bible study group are crocheting mats for those who have to stay outside, not out of yarn, but from recycled plastic shopping bags.

'It's hard to think that there are people that don't have homes'

Marilyn O'Connor says she got the idea for the mats from Pinterest. (CBC)

A group of P.E.I. women are helping the homeless in a unique but crafty way.

Marilyn O'Connor and her bible study group are crocheting mats for those who have to stay outside, not out of yarn, but from recycled plastic shopping bags.

"We as a group wanted to do something special and I was sort of surfing Pinterest and I came across it, I saw a group of ladies and wondered what they were doing and I thought wow that's something that would be so easy to do and it doesn't really cost us anything it just takes our time, and maybe buying a crochet hook," said O'Connor

The mats are created from recycled plastic shopping bags. (CBC)
The mats are around three feet wide and six feet long.

To make them, O'Connor first cuts the bottoms and handles off the bags, cuts the remainder looped pieces into strips and then ties them together eventually forming a ball of plastic yarn.

Then Connor and her friends crochet like normal using a bigger size needle.

The group has made about a dozen mats so far. They've dropped a few off at the local men's shelter where staff are gathering feedback for the group too see what the need and want for them are.

O'Connor said it's a small thing to do for tough problem.

"It's hard to think that there are people that don't have homes. I mean in Canada we have a country that is so affluent but there are so many people, even on our own Island that have nothing. And it's hard to think of somebody sleeping outside that they don't have anywhere to be," she said.

Joe, who sleeps in a tent, says he thinks the crocheted mats are a great idea. (CBC)
Joe, who declined to give his last name, is one of those people. He panhandles in downtown Charlottetown, sleeping in a tent. He said he thinks the mats are a great idea.

"Might give me a little more warmth than what I've got now in the night time, all I got is a thin sleeping bag and a couple of small blankets, if it wasn't for a little alcohol stove I'd freeze to death lately," said Joe.

He said wet weather is the toughest to deal with, especially when he has to walk the close to two hours back to his campsite. Having a waterproof mat would be a welcome site to come home to.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.