Volunteers make mats for homeless from plastic bags

- Don't throw out those used plastic bags. They may make a difference in the life of a homeless person.

Volunteer Polk just kicked off a project to take plastic bags like the ones you get from grocery stores and make them into mats for the homeless.

The mats are more durable and softer than what many homeless people sleep on now - cardboard.

"You do what you gotta do when you're out there in the elements," explained Jessica Cassita, who was on the streets years ago because of a drug problem.

Volunteers snip off the handle and bottom seam of the plastic bags, cut them into strips, then tie them end to end.

There's even a name for it.

"Plarn," said Janet Bartuska, who heads up Volunteer Polk. "P-L-A-R-N, which is plastic yarn."

The strips are then crocheted into mats. It is not a quick process. You need 700 bags to make just one mat. It takes about 50 hours.

The first mats are probably going to be ready by December. They will be given to Talbot House and other agencies that help the homeless.

If you want to donate plastic bags, or your time, call Volunteer Polk at (863) 534-5580.

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