Group works to make mats for the homeless

Group works to make mats for the homeless
A group of volunteers in Wilmington is working as hard as they can to make sure no homeless person in the city sleeps on the hard ground. 

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - A group of volunteers in Wilmington is working as hard as they can to make sure no homeless person in the city sleeps on the hard ground.

Elizabeth Murray, organizer, and her team use plastic grocery bags to create bed mats for the city's homeless.

Murray got the idea from a group of women in Kentucky doing the same project and wanted to bring it to the Port City.

"You can really do something to help someone," said Murray. "Sometimes it is the smallest details that make the biggest impact, and I think these bed mats will make a big impact towards the homeless in Wilmington."

The group spends hours at a time creating "plarn," or plastic yarn, out of the bags. They then crochet the pieces together into the mat.

Noni Boalt, a volunteer, said the work can be very labor intensive.

"I can sit and watch a TV show for about and hour and make five to six inches depending on if I have to cut something out or not," she said.

Both women agree that the mats not only help those living on the streets, but they also will have a large impact on the environment.

"We will be taking out somewhere between 113,000 to 130,000 bags out of the landfill and out of the waterways," said Murray. "We are creating an eco-friendly type of project."

Boalt hopes the project will become a lasting piece of the Wilmington community.

"I would love to see this expand to a permanent project here in Wilmington," she said. "One where people can volunteer in and volunteer out and whatever works for them."

Right now the group desperately needs more space to store the bags and people to help crochet the mats.

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