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Some of Hamilton’s homeless will be getting a special gift in January from a group at St. Catherine of Siena Parish on the Mountain designed to keep them warmer and dryer.
“We are making three-foot by six-foot plastic sleeping mats out of milk bags,” said Elizabeth Paal, one of the members of the plarn sleeping mat group that has been meeting each month since October in the basement of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church on Mohawk Road East. “We know there is a need to help the less fortunate.”
Plarn is the word for plastic bag yarn.
Paal said during the gatherings (that includes folks from the parish’s Our Lady of Lourdes and Corpus Christie sites) they cut the plastic milk bags into two-inch strips and then take the material home where they crochet them together into floor and sleeping mats.
Each mat contains about 500 milk bags, and they take many hours to make.
Paal said they use 10-mm crochet hooks to loop the bags together.
“It’s a slow process,” said Paal who noted most group members do it as a hobby or while watching television.
So far, the group has made six lightweight, waterproof mats that they will give to the homeless through the city’s social navigator program, a collaborative effort between the Hamilton Police Service and the Hamilton Paramedic Service that addresses health and social issues for vulnerable people, many of which are unhoused, that are often suffering from mental health and addiction issues.
St. Catherine of Siena parish pastor, Father Mark Gatto applauds the group’s efforts.
“The whole parish has gotten behind it,” said Gatto who noted parishioners are bringing large numbers of plastic milk bags to church each Sunday. “It’s a great project.”
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