When Annie Sebastian was inspired when she read an article about a Rural Hall church crocheting plastic bags together to make mats and blankets for the homeless.
She quickly got on the phone to her friend and project partner Ruth Scott to enlist her help and before the two knew it they were buried in a sea of plastic bags that they are working hard to turn into blankets and mats for the homeless members of Yadkin County.
“I read an article in the newspaper about a church in Rural Hall doing something like this, and I kept thinking and praying about it and I decided to do it,” said Sebastian, project organizer. “So I called me friend Ruth and asked her to help me.”
Sebastian said that the Boonville Women’s Club was the sole sponsor of the project in the beginning with the women’s club members providing plastic bags to the project workers.
But as word spread about the group’s project more and more community member got involved.
“It started out with the Women’s Club sponsoring us, but there are a lot more people involved in it now because word of mouth has spread to the churches and the YMCA,” said Scott.
Sebastian said that the mats require one volunteer working for 35 to 40 hours to complete and that each mat will use 500 to 700 bags once it’s complete. The group prefers to use thin, grocery bags after they quickly learned that some of the thicker, department store bags cut their hands while they work.
The staff at the Boonville Public Library chipped in to help the group by offering up the library as a drop off point for bag donations.
So far the group has made eight bags and expects to pass its initial goal of 10 mats soon. They have set a new goal of 20 completed mats by September.
Once the mats are finished they will be delivered to Yadkin Christian Ministries where they will be distributed strictly to Yadkin County residents as the weather turns cold.
“The bags are going into Yadkin County for the homeless people so that they have mats that they can sleep on or for cover,” Sebastian said. “We want them to stay in Yadkin County so we’re having Carol Roberts at Yadkin Christian Ministries distributing them to make sure they stay in the county.”
Sebastian said the group tentatively plans to wrap up the project in the fall but will continue if the demand is there.
“We’ve been saying we’re going to continue to work on them until the fall but if there’s a lot of demand then we’re going to continue to do it because we feel there is a big need,” Sebastian said. “We have children living on the streets here in Boonville. These mats are really warm and they can help these people get through the nights on the streets or in their cars.”
Sebastian and Scott said that the group is in desperate need of more volunteers to help make the mats. They said that they need volunteers who know how to crochet but they will also take volunteers who are willing to cut bags into loops or takes those loops and turn them into balls for the crocheters.
The group meets the first and third Saturday of the month from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. at the Boonville Public Library. Prospective volunteers are welcomed to attend a meeting or they can contact Sebastian by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“There’s a special need out here for a lot of homeless people and little things like this can help,” Sebastian said.