Creating Sleeping Mats for Area Homeless Shelters

Sleeping Mats For Humanity Blog

Our residents and team members are always looking for ways to impact the community. So when Sandy Bosin approached our assisted living apartments on the Waukesha campus to see if LindenGrove wanted to participate in the “Sleeping Mats for Humanity” community program she leads, our residents were excited to help out.

This unique community program reuses plastic bags that would most likely be landfilled and turns them into sleeping mats for local homeless shelters. A single sleeping mat requires 700 to 800 plastic bags to complete. Every bag must be inspected for holes, flattened, folded and cut to make plarn (plastic yarn).

Once complete, the crocheting begins. And 80 hours of crocheting later a 6 foot by 3 1/2 foot mat is completed and donated to a local homeless shelter.

So far, LindenGrove residents have participated in the prep work of inspecting, fluffing, folding, flattening and cutting. Residents get together weekly for two hours to prep the bags.

“You learn a lot about bags when you do this,” said Stephanie Stancl, activities director at LindenGrove Waukesha. “We’ve learned that all bags are not created equal. We’ve learned bags differ by width, color and stability and some bags are better than others.”

Community Program Extremely Popular Among Residents

The project has been an incredible hit.

“We’ve never had such a big commitment before,” said Stancl. “We love we’re helping the community. Some of our residents might not be able to volunteer now, but this is brought to them and it’s huge.”

LindenGrove has had a very popular crocheting club on campus, but this partnership with Sleeping Mats for Humanity has allowed non-crocheters to participate as well. Even the men, who largely are absent at crocheting club, are getting involved. One resident has purchased a large bucket to collect donated bags around campus. He’s also calling local stores to ask for donations.

Now that the residents have prepped enough bags, they’re getting ready to begin the crocheting phase. Beginning next week, residents at the skilled nursing facility will be invited to participate in bag prepping as some of the assisted living residents begin the crocheting phase.

The assisted living residents are excited to complete their first mat and donate it to a local Waukesha County shelter. The hope is more people will be able to benefit from this cool project in the future.

“Sandy has had to turn away other county’s requests due to not being able to meet the demand,” said Amanda Martin, activities leader at the assisted living apartments. “Let’s see if we can help with meeting that demand.”

Interested in watching how a plastic bag sleeping mat is created? Check out the cool video below from Shepherd of the Hills Church.