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De Pere group works to help environment, homeless by stitching plastic bags into sleeping mats

Posted at 5:20 PM, Dec 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-19 18:20:23-05

DE PERE, Wis. (NBC 26) — A plastic bag can change someone's life.

And Jayne Black is working to show the community they're good for much more than carrying groceries.

"Every stitch you make, you're remembering that somebody out there is experiencing homelessness," she said.

Black shows Northeast Wisconsinites how to turn plastic bags into sleeping mats to benefit the environment and help those in need.

On Saturday, she taught a group of girls in De Pere. And the mats they make are going to St. John's Homeless Shelter in Green Bay.

"Seven hundred plastic bags equals one waterproof mat for someone experiencing homelessness," Black said. "And I just committed myself to do this."

It takes nearly 60 hours to weave the two-and-a-half by 6-foot mat.

"Only nine percent of these plastic bags are recycled properly," Black said.

The sleeping mats are part of Black's personal project 'Art for a Cause'. She got the idea from the book "One Plastic Bag."

"When I do these events, the trickle effect is amazing," Black said. "Because one of the girls is going to teach another girl how to do that."

And Isabella Edwards, a Neenah resident, is one of them. She was with over a dozen people who volunteered to stitch the plastic bags.

"I know it's helping someone and I really like to help people," Edwards said. "Because the people are less fortunate than I am, and I know that I can help them and make their life just a little bit better."

After hours of work, Black says she'll never look at a plastic bag the same way again.

"There are things that we can do that are better for the environment than what we're doing," she said. "We can do better and this is one small way to help."