Plastic bags needed to help make sleeping mats for homeless

Boys and Girls Club in Martinsville making mats; 700 bags needed for each mat

MARTINSVILLE, Va. – Strips of plastic grocery bags, lots and lots of strips, are what some teen members of the Boys and Girls Club of the Blue Ridge will be tieing together Saturday to make sleeping mats.

The club's organizational development director, Crystal Flannagan-Terrell, said the idea came from a local church-goer.

"We looked it up on YouTube and thought it was a really good idea," Flannagan-Terrell said.

The project helps the teens in the Boys and Girls Club's Keystone Club get community service hours so they can go to a national Boys and Girls Club conference later this year where they'll work with other teens to come up with ways to help their communities.

"The bags are cut into strips and the strips make an oval shape, and then those oval shapes are linked together by a knot so it's easier to crochet them together," Flannagan-Terrell said. "From the pictures and the videos that we have looked into, it is pretty thick once it is crocheted together."

Seven hundred bags are needed to make each mat.

If you have bags you'd like to donate, you can bring them to the Boys and Girls Club any time before the event starts at 9 a.m. Saturday.

Any mats made will go to the Dream Center in Martinsville.

It's a transitional home for men and is run by Community Fellowship Church in Henry County.

Pastor Michael Harrison said the kindness of the community is heartwarming.

"One of the reasons why we partner with the Boys and Girls Club is because they're champions in our community. What do I mean by that? They see a need and they do something about it," Harrison said.

"I think it's a humbling experience for myself to participate in the area," Flannagan-Terrell said.

If the mat-making goes well Saturday, Flannagan-Terrell said, the club may consider making mats throughout the year for the Dream Center.