‘Bag Ladies’ make mats for homeless out of plastic grocery bags

UNION CITY, Tenn. — One local group of women is impacting lives across the country one stitch and plastic bag at a time.

Screen Shot 2016-08-25 at 2.48.00 PMThey’re known as the “Bag Ladies.” These women have been gathering since January of last year and making mats for the homeless using only plastic bags.

“Exciting to think that something we are doing we feel like is from the Lord because it wouldn’t have ballooned like this I don’t think,” Bag Lady Peggy Robinson said.

These ladies meet each week to straighten, cut and tie plastic bags together to make balls of “plarn.” These are then passed off to the crocheters to finish the mats. The ladies say it takes between 600 and 700 bags to make one mat.

The Bridge of West Tennessee is a phase II transitional home for women and women with children. Last week, the “Bag Ladies” reached out to the Bridge, and it sparked a partnership to help those women in transition.

“When she told me about the mats, I thought that would be a great opportunity to get some of our women involved with what they are doing to give back and to get some community service hours,” The Bridge administrator Julie Huggins said.

Kathy Sampson has been with The Bridge for 15 months, and Thursday she was one of many women who were learning how to make the mats.

“We’re helping people, and when I help others I’m helping myself because I’m in recovery. I was a meth addict for over 25 years,” Sampson said.

She said opportunities like this give her a new purpose in life, even if it is as simple as tying plastic bags together.

“I’m a miracle. People say if you have been on meth that long and on the needle that long you never get off of it, and I have. And it’s because of God and this program and I help others — my program teaches me that if I help others, I’m helping myself,” Sampson said.

Last year, the “Bag Ladies” made around 75 mats, and this year they already have made 75 and hope to finish the year off with 100.

Ten of those are heading to Baton Rouge this weekend.

The ladies say it can take around two weeks to finish one mat.

The ladies will be making a how-to video in the next couple of weeks to help other shelters and churches learn how to start their own ministry.

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