MILTON (CBS) – 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.

Sleeping mat made from plastic bags (WBZ-TV)

“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.”

Sleeping mat made from plastic bags (WBZ-TV)

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.

Women in Milton make sleeping mats out of plastic bags (WBZ-TV)

“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.”

Comments (2)
  1. Glad they are being delivered to Pine St. and not distributed directly to the homeless. This time of year the homeless need to be discouraged from sleeping outside because of the real risk of freezing to death. Pine St, will likely use them for overflow on especially cold nights. However, The annual Winter Plan for the Homeless created by the city guarantees, at least on paper, that all homeless staying at shelters will be provided a cot, not mats on the floor. Sadly that promise of cots is not easy to keep because of the growing number of homeless in Boston and the decreasing funds available to provide them comfortable and dignified shelter.

  2. lisatodd54 says:

    we are doing this at our church here in Costa rica but as i post i am getting a lot of negative remarks like they will just lose them, or sell them or throw them away…have you had success in this project long term? thanks in advance.

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