Homelessness is a growing issue for East Tennessee, especially in the Knoxville area. As one of our service areas, we strive to alleviate the grip homelessness has on our neighbors, even if that means helping to make them a little more comfortable in their current situation. Unfortunately, it’s not a secret that when a homeless individual is unable to find shelter, they most likely resort to sleeping on the street— sometimes without any barrier between their body and the ground.
CCETN has recently been blessed with a wonderful gift that will help provide additional comfort to our neighbors experiencing homelessness. The Cavett Station Chapter of National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) joined a Plastic Bag Sleeping Mat initiative in 2019, where common plastic bags are woven to make sturdy sleeping mats. The initiative was introduced by NSDAR Tennessee State Regent, Cecile Wimberly.
Since then, their initiative has blossomed into a community effort. To start, plastic bags were donated from NSDAR chapter members and by Farragut High School, whose Student Government Association organized a plastic bag drive.
From there, the NSDAR members use the bags to create plastic yarn, better known as plarn. And with the same technique as knitting a rug, members knit the plarn together to make a durable, waterproof sleeping mat. Each mat contains 500-700 bags! To date, the Cavett Station Chapter has made four sleeping mats and is diligently making more.
With the generous donation from the Cavett Station Chapter, CCETN is donating the sleeping mats to clients we serve at HOPE Kitchen. Our HOPE Kitchen program is on the fourth Saturday of each month where we serve a hot meal to homeless individuals and anyone else who may be food insecure.
We’re so grateful to be able to offer these sleeping mats to our neighbors. Oftentimes, the smallest gestures of kindness go such a long way to help provide hope to those experiencing homelessness. Not only are the sleeping mats a blessing to CCETN and our clients, but to the environment as well. The Plastic Bag Sleeping Mat Initiative falls under several committees within the NSDAR, which include:
Service to America, which promotes community service
Conservation, which promotes efforts to help the environment such as recycling
Service for Veterans, who make up a significant percentage of homeless individuals
If you have plastic sleeping mats you’d like to donate to CCETN, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Likewise, if you’d like to donate plastic bags or plarn to the NSDAR Plastic Bag Sleeping Mat efforts, you can contact Holly Matthews at HollyMatthewsDAR@gmail.com.