New Port Richey seniors help the homeless stay warm during winter

At the Tall Pine Clubhouse in New Port Richey, senior citizens are giving back by putting together plastic mats for the homeless.  

"It lifts them up by providing them with our soft place to lay their heads at night," explained Jeayn Fahey. 

She started making blankets out of plastic as a way to give back to her community in 2010.  

"We have a lot of families that were evicted in the spring of 2021 and they came to us and said, ‘We really need your mats.’" 

She calls her effort "Hands for Our Homeless."  

"They’re bug-free. They're insulated from the elements." 

She has now recruited a whole host of seniors like Diane Zenchuk to help. She found a note on her door to join the group. 

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"Once I got started, I just found it very heartwarming to be able to help other people and especially to be able to recycle and to have so many other people care about the homeless and helping them," Zenchuk stated. 

For Chonita Williams the mission was two-fold. 

"I was just overcome when she said to me what they were for, they were for the homeless. I said, ‘My God, we were taking basically trash and we're recycling it and we're giving these people comfort.’"  Volunteer Jeannette Bryant says the mats are a mixture of plastic and yarn. 

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"From the bags, we connect them together and create a ball of cloth and is the name that we use. And then this is what we used to crochet. We add it to the bag and we crochet them together." 

A team effort that Fahey says she is proud to be a part of. 

"Imagine something that would ordinarily go into landfills or into the oceans is now being used productively to do something good for people who need it most."

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