Harlan — A group of Harlan church members have found a way to keep plastic bags out of landfills and, instead, are putting them to good use.
Ladies from “The Church on the Hill”, the Congregational United Church of Christ & the United Methodist Mission Church of Harlan are re-purposing bags into sleeping mats for the homeless.
The group is donating the mats to Midwest Mission, a nonprofit originated in Springfield, IL with sites throughout the Midwest, including a volunteer site in Jefferson. The mats will be taken to the Jefferson location to be distributed to the homeless population throughout the state.
Rebecca Gough learned how to cut and assemble the bags into mats and taught the rest of the volunteer group. “Each mat takes about 20 hours and 481 bags,” Gough said.
Members of the group remove the handles, cut the sacks into strips, and then the pieces are woven into a mat on a large loom. Nina Pulatie said the loom makes assembling the mats “pretty easy”.
The group is always looking for volunteers. They meet at the church for an hour every Tuesday morning for fellowship with a greater purpose. “It’s a nice social hour,” said Sandy Carroll.
Clean, untorn shopping bags may be donated at the church for the group to use.
To find out more about Midwest Mission and the sleeping mat donation program, please visit https://www.midwestmission.org/iowa