GIRARD — Girard Senior Center members are repurposing plastic bags into mats for the homeless.

It takes 500 to 700 plastic grocery bags to make one mat.

When the bags come in they are all wadded up, so the first step is to hand press the seams, then cut off the bottom seam and handles. Then link the loops together to create what they call “plarn,” Volunteer Activity Coordinator Sandi Richardson said.

Then the crocheting begins.

One mat could take a little over a week to make.

Richardson said one of the ladies at the center mentioned doing a community project.

After contacting Wesley House in Pittsburg the need was confirmed.

There are 29 people enrolled in the daytime homeless program and the organization serves an upsarwards of 35 through various programs.

After the center completes the mats they plan to donate them to Wesley House and they will be given to people who are homeless and are enrolled in one of their programs.

“I think mats are a great idea,”  Wesley House Executive Director and Pastor Marcee Binder said. “Hopefully it would keep them dry and bug free. They are definitely needed and will be used.”

Richardson said the Girard community has graciously donated several plastic grocery bags which has allowed the group to create two mats so far.

“It’s so inspiring to see the bags that are coming in,” she said. “It makes me very proud of being in Girard and being around these people.”

Richard also applauded the women who have been working on the colorful mats.

“The women doing this are amazing,” she said.  “They come in here and they work hard, they sit in the chair for hours.

“They really are giving themselves in the project.”

The pattern for the mats were found on Pinterest and Richardson said once the mats are complete they may look into other plastic bag projects — which include plastic slippers or backpacks.

Richardson said people are welcome to drop off more plastic grocery bags.

The bags must not be soiled or wet.

People can drop the bags off at the Girard Senior Center at 221 S. Ozark, Girard. The center is closed on Fridays but people may leave them at a receptacle created just for the bags, or at the door.

Richardson said people are welcome to join in on the project — especially if they know how to crochet.

— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.