Making Plastic Bag Mats Lenten Service
Last weekend I led a class on how to make Mercy Mats for my parish’s Lenten Retreat. Mercy Mats are sleeping mats for the homeless made from single use plastic shopping bags. Each 3’ by 6’ mat requires between 500-700 plastic bags. Those plastic bags are cut into loops to make “plarn” balls that are used to weave, braid, or crochet into mats. It takes about 6,400 yards of plarn to make one mat. This is an amazing upcycle project that provides a very useful item for people. It all began about 4 years ago with an idea from our Pastor, Fr. VW. He had an encounter with the Mother of Light Center a local non-profit group that works with the vast homeless population in our area. A parish near the center had a group making Mercy Mats but they have not been able to keep up with the demand. He concluded that our parish with its vast number of active volunteers would be a great place to start a service group to help the Mother of Light Center. So……I volunteered to take on the development of building a parish service project making Mercy Mats. Initially the goal was to get this going for as a Lenten service activity that could become a long term work of Mercy for our parish. This service project was going well until 2020…… Alas we are back at it and ready to make up for lost time. For Lent this will be my focus as well as some additional things I plan to do but as a whole this is how I intend to spend my time during Lent.