The Helping Hands mats program enters it second phase Saturday with a help session for those working on their mats.
Helping Hands teaches attendees how to crochet plastic bags into mats for the homeless in the Elkhart County area.
Saturday, Nov. 18 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. EPL will have help on hand for any questions for those making mats. Materials to make more plastic yarn will be available but it will not be pre-cut, according to Rachel Rice, outreach coordinator for the library.
The session will be at the downtown library, 300 S. Second St., Elkhart.
The completed mats are to be returned to the library by Dec. 2 for distribution.
The mats are multipurpose and are highly requested by the homeless, according to Debby Applegate, senior administrator with Michiana Five for the Homeless. The group will be helping the library distribute the mats.
The program is made possible with funding from the Friends of Elkhart Public Library.
“They provide several functions, obviously they sleep on them, they are washable, you can rinse them off or wipe them off and they are lightweight,” she said.
The mats provide cushioning against sidewalks and other rough surfaces that homeless often have to sleep on.
The mats require hundreds of plastic bags and can be time consuming to make, but Applegate said that they are so important to those living on the streets.
“It’s something they very definitely need,” she said. “Unfortunately there are still people out on the streets, in the woods and with winter coming up we’re gearing up for our big winter giveaway of supplies.”
The mats are a great way to get rid of a product that often fills up landfills and allows those with a creative side to help out those in need, she said.
“Everybody has tons of these plastic bags, it’s something so simple and it can make a difference between life and death in some case,” Applegate said.
“There are so many people that are talented and crafty, here’s something you can do to help others that need it.”