Group adds 3 more mats for homeless

November 13, 2018
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Helen J. Hart, from left, Brenda Warren and Amy Prestera stand in recognition for helping create the mats as the "Knit Whits" and "Helping Hands Together" are thanked for their donations on Sunday at Crossroads United Methodist Church in Huntington.

HUNTINGTON – Members of seven churches are literally wrapping the city’s homeless population in love.

Since 2016, a group of crocheters and other volunteers began creating mats out of recycled plastic bags. The mats are distributed to Harmony House and the City Mission.

“God’s love is wrapped up in all of these,” said Helen J. Hart, who leads the group, Sunday after three new mats were blessed at Crossroads United Methodist Church.

So far, the group has made 112 mats. Hart said it takes about 60 hours to crochet one mat. That does not include the 15-20 hours it takes to cut the plastic bags into strips to be turned into “plarn,” or plastic yarn. It takes another 15-20 hours to put the plarn into a ball.

“When I was first asked (to make the mats) I said no because I didn’t think we had the time,” Hart said. “God is giggling at me now.”

Hart and her husband make the plarn balls and distribute them to the crocheters at various churches. Hart also designs the mats, giving each a unique pattern and name. Her daughter paints them.

The goal of the mats is to give those who are living on the street something to protect them from the ground and dirt. Hart said she has been told they are also used as blankets.

Hart said creating the mats is fulfilling the vow she made to God.

Churches involved in undertaking and completing mats are St. Ann’s, St. Peter Claver, St. Joseph’s and Our Lady of Fatima Catholic churches, St. John’s Episcopal Church, Harmony United Methodist and Crossroads United Methodist churches.

Follow reporter Taylor Stuck on Twitter and Facebook @TaylorStuckHD.

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