Volunteers use plastic bags to help people struggling with homelessness


SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Thousands of plastic bags are being transformed into mats and blankets by the busy hands of local volunteers.

Volunteers meet at the Jewish Educational Alliance on Thursday’s at 9:30a.m. to join Carol Greenberg in her effort to find solutions to the two problems she finds concerning: how to help care for individuals struggling with homelessness and how to reduce the amount of plastic going into our ocean streams and landfills.

Greenberg showed others how to cut strips of plastic, tie them together, and crochet the strips that have been transformed into “plarn” (a ball of plastic yarn). Rochelle Frank a volunteer who also has her own group that makes plastic mats said the time that goes into each mat is extensive.

“For me it took like three months to finish one, some of these gals can finish it in a week,” Frank said.

Her daughter taught Frank the process, who learned it from watching a video about a group of women doing it in Australia. Frank said she chooses to uses her spare time to work on the ongoing service project.

Greenberg said the process is simple, something anyone can do.

“All we do is cut the bags, we tie them together, and we make a plastic yarn ball and then we use that to crochet a two and a half by six foot mat,” Greenberg said.

Greenberg started the group after reading a statistic she said estimated, “over 500 billion single-use plastic bags end up in the water streams and landfills each year.” This motivated her to find a solution.

“It’s to raise awareness, not only that we really have a problem with all of this plastic, but we really have a problem in that we can’t seem to house our own people and by people taking their time, it’s not money, it’s time, to make something that is useful for somebody else it raises awareness of the fact that we really do have a problem,” Greenberg stated.

Volunteers, like Frank, said each meeting brings them fulfillment.

“Instead of going into the oceans as garbage, as trash, instead of the fish eating it, we’re making mats for the homeless which is wonderful,” Frank said.

Greenberg said her project might be simple, but she believes it could have a profound impact.

“Maybe it’s not the world’s greatest gift, but it is something to let somebody who’s a little down on their luck know that somebody else was thinking about them,” Greenberg said.

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