Milk bags crocheted into sleeping mats for Windsor's homeless
It takes takes between 500 and 800 milk bags to make one mat
Hundreds of empty milk bags are being crocheted into plastic sleeping mats to be used by Windsor's homeless.
They're called milk mats and they've been made by a local group for about a year.
So far, the group has donated more than 100 mats to the homeless.
Tracey Lemon-Landriault of Belle River started the campaign after hearing about another group sending mats overseas.
"I thought it was a great idea but then again, I was a little frustrated that nobody was doing it for our own people here in Canada or Ontario," she said. "People don't realize how much homelessness there is."
Seeing a need locally, she and her volunteers are taking donated milk bags, and using them to crochet mats.
Lemon-Landriault says homeless people can lay on them all year long. They're as needed in the cool, wet spring as they are in the cold, harsh winter.
"In the winter, it would add warmth because they're plastic, and the body heat, it would add warmth. It just gives them some comfort. In the spring and in the summer, it keeps them off the wetness," she said. "They're very convenient because I have them designed so that they can be rolled up and they have a handle and they can throw them over their shoulder. "
Volunteers cut up milk bags and crochet them into mats. Lemon-Landriault says it takes takes between 500 and 800 milk bags to make one mat. It takes her a month to make three mats.
The group has donated mats to Street Help in Windsor and the Unity Project in London.
"I'm very fortunate. I have a roof over my head and a bed to lay in at night, and there's a lot of people that don't have that, so I want to make sure they have it," Lemon-Landriault said. "I'm on disability myself and I don't have a lot, but I'm grateful for what I do have and just to be able to help other people, it gives me a sense of purpose and it's rewarding in that sense."
Lemon-Landriault learned to crochet only a year ago. Volunteers cut the bags in loops and make them into yarn made out of plastic. The mats are about 75 centimetres wide and just about two metres long.
Anyone interested in volunteering or donating milk bags can contact Sleeping mats for the Homeless in London and Windsor Ontario on Facebook.