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Unique Mats Made for Homeless Veterans

<br><font size=2> <P>Plastic store bags can pile up quickly.</P> <P>While they can be recycled, members of a Wichita Falls church ministry are reusing them in their own way.</P> <P>And as you'll see, that way has them helping homeless veterans sleep much better.</P></font>

This isn't just any old mat.

It's one that contains care with every crocheted stitch.

It's also one that's made entirely out of plastic shopping bags.

It's not easy and I've crocheted most of my life. Of course, I've always crocheted with yarn. I've never done anything like this. This is the first time I've ever even seen anything done like this," says Kathy Merder, crochet group chairman of Angels' Wings Ministry.

But six months ago Angels' Wings ministry members at University United Methodist Church started crocheting mats for homeless veterans after they learned the city had identified 370 of them in Wichita Falls.

And these ladies plan to provide each with a light-weight, waterproof, homemade gift.

It all starts with flattening out recycled shopping bags, which are then cut.

"You have to get them even. Then, with the help of this and this sharp little razor blade, you can cut a whole stack," says Nancy Ashbrook of Angles' Wings Ministry.

They tie the strips and roll them into a ball, which is then crocheted.

"Because it is bulky and in order to make the mat really tight and more waterproof you've got to pull the cords really tight as you're doing it. So, every time you give it a pull... it puts a strain on your hand,"explains Merder.

But these ladies say the strain is worth it, since the outcome provides homeless vets with a softer place to get some sleep.

Angels' Wings members say it takes about 600 bags and 30 to 40 man hours to make just one crocheted mat.

If you've like to help them give back to veterans through this unique project call the church weekdays during business hours at (940) 767-8511.

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