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Homeless Sleeping Mat Ministry: How to Help from Home

*During the COVID-19 Pandemic, this ministry will not be meeting on Wednesdays. We will let you know when we begin meeting again! Thank you for all your help collecting and prepping bags in the meantime. We know we will be able to come back stronger than ever!

There are so many different ministries happening at Eastmont at any given time. We’re so thankful that our church family loves to serve our community as well as one another. One of the ministries that take place weekly is our homeless sleeping mat ministry. For those of you who haven’t heard about this ministry, here’s a quick synopsis. Every Wednesday at 12:30 a group of around 10 ladies meet at Eastmont to weave sleeping mats for the homeless. Once those mats have been weaved they roll up a bible, a pillow, and some other necessities into the mat and then donate them to Reality and Truth, a homeless ministry in Montgomery. Reality and Truth then gives these to those who need them and are able to minister to people through them.

You might be wondering, what do they weave these mats out of? These mats are made from something that you probably have tons of in your house right now. They’re made from plastic shopping bags and it takes more than 2,000 to make each mat. If you’re not able to make it to on Wednesday afternoon to help weave mats we completely understand, but we want you to know that you can still be a part of this ministry by donating plastic bags and by prepping them ahead of time for the ladies who are a part of this ministry.

Here are three ways that you can help from home!

Save and Donate Plastic Shopping Bags

It takes a lot of plastic shopping bags to make each of these sleeping mats and the more that we have the more mats we can make. One great way that you can serve through this ministry is by donating plastic shopping bags. There is a pink container in the old kitchen with a note on it that says it’s for the homeless ministry. When you come home from your Walmart trip, instead of throwing away those bags, save them and drop them off in that pink container. This is a huge help!

Prep Your Plastic Shopping Bags

If you’d like to take it one step further, after collecting your shopping bags you can also prep them!  This is one less step that the ladies have to do on Wednesdays!

To prep the bags, first pull the corners of the bags to flatten it out like in the picture below. Then, cut the handle of the bag off as well as about an inch off the bottom of the bag. This leaves you with a rectangle. Don’t throw away the handles and other pieces. We use those to stuff pillows! This is a no-waste project!

Homeless Sleeping Mat Ministry: How to Help from Home 1

Pro-tip: Don’t try to cut more than one bag at a time. When you cut multiple bags some of them end up being uneven and our volunteers end up having to go back through the bags individually which is time-consuming. Just cut one at a time. 

Connect Your Plastic Bags

If you’re really feeling adventurous, you can take it to the final step and connect your bags together to make ropes. If you have Walmart bags, make ropes of 4 (these are the perfect length for the structure of our mats). If you have any other kind of plastic bag, make ropes of 7 (these are the ones that we weave back and forth).

To connect your bags create a loop from the rectangular part as shown in the picture below. Next, take one loop and stick it through the middle of the other loop. Take one end of that loop and pull it up towards itself. Tuck the top portion of the folded loop underneath its other side. Tug on the tucked portion while pulling the other loop in the opposite direction. This will create a knot that links the two loops. You can add any number of bags to this rope in the same manner. When you have several connected it will look like the second picture below. Make sure as you connect more bags that there is no slack between the knots.

Homeless Sleeping Mat Ministry: How to Help from Home 2                    Homeless Sleeping Mat Ministry: How to Help from Home 3

This is a great way to pass the time while you’re at home, reuse some plastic bags that would otherwise go to the dump, and also minister to those in our community in a unique way. We hope you’ll be a part of this amazing ministry and if you ever want to come check out the weaving process, join us in Room 124 at 12:30 any Wednesday!

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