Mats & Pillow Project
Our mats and pillows project (The Plarn Farm) is a large and specific initiative of our organization that we focus on when we are not out in the field with the homeless. Our mats and pillows are made of recycled plastic bags that are then crocheted into mats with a strap, tie and a pillow. These mats and pillows are ideal for our harsh Michigan elements as they are remarkably comfortable and offer just enough to create a barrier between the ground and the body to help retain body heat while sleeping. Our mats also offer a cleaner way of sleeping as bugs do not like them, if the mat gets wet, they can easily be dried and when it gets dirty, it can easily be hosed off and shaken out. And since they are made of plastic and come with a convenient carrying strap, they are also light and portable. And because the mats and pillows are made from recycled plastic bags, we are also helping the environment. And although we were not the original group to conceptualize the mats, we have perfected and streamlined the process and Gail Marlow is the first one to originate, design, and conceptualize the pillow.
This initiative is also an activity that offers a way for almost every type of person of all ages to get involved. While the process of making the mats and pillows is not a complicated one, it is labor intensive that has many steps. But because of this, there is generally at least one step that a person is capable of doing which allows a large, diverse group of people from all ages, disabilities and education to participate. It’s a great way to get people involved in volunteering, especially students as well as the elderly.
Our mats and pillow project has taken off throughout 2017 and into 2018 as participation and interest in our initiative has grown outside of metro Detroit including other various parts of Michigan including North Branch, Marquette, Grand Rapids, Traverse City and Midland. And out of State city initiatives that we have started include Cincinnati, Houston, Chicago, Naples, and Phoenix. In addition, we have started a huge initiative right across the border throughout Windsor, Ontario, Canada. This initiative and interest has grown extremely quickly and is in the process of being implemented throughout many of the schools throughout Essex County in Canada.
Through our mats and pillow project and partnering with so many schools, churches, organizations and businesses, a vital part of our initiative includes promoting volunteerism and education. We are working fiercely with schools all over to help educate students on homelessness as well as promote volunteering and community service. Our belief is that if you give people a positive experience the first time volunteering, they will most likely get excited and want to expand their volunteering opportunities. Our mats and pillow project is a perfect introduction because it is an activity that helps both the environment as well as the homeless, it is not a difficult task, does not require a set time commitment and is an activity that can be worked on in the comfort of your own home. Since the inception of our organization of December 2017, we have already presented, trained and have our mats and pillow project being worked on by students from over 60 schools along with another 50 other churches, community organizations, senior citizen groups and businesses.