Judy Simmill crocheting a plarn mat in her favourite chair. (Jennifer Feinberg/ The Progress)

WATCH: Chilliwack woman makes sleeping mats for the homeless out of plastic bags

The crocheted mats are given out to people in the streets by security personnel

You may not be able to do everything in this life but you can do something.

With that in mind, Judy Simmill of Chilliwack has been quietly crocheting sleeping mats for the homeless out of plastic bags.

By cutting bags into strips, rolling them into plastic yarn balls called ‘plarn,’ and crocheting them into a sleeping surface, Simmill has managed to put together more than 40 mats.

The plarn mats are easy to clean, portable, and they don’t attract lice or bedbugs. They get people off the cold ground and insulate against the elements.

Simmill likes to crochet and cross-stitch anyway. But this project offered the added element of compassion.

Each mat takes about 70 hours to make.

Simmill underlined that she doesn’t want any fuss or fanfare for doing this, and would have preferred no photos taken, but she would like to hear from other charitable folks in Chilliwack who might enjoying crocheting these mats as she does, or collecting clean bags for her.

Brian Goldstone of Griffin Security says the folks he’s given mats to, love them. Sometimes they even try to steal them from one another or fight over them.

“But the best was when one of guys was heading into housing, and getting off the streets. On his last day, he turned around and he passed that mat on to the next guy to use.”

Simmill said when she heard that little story, it kept her going. It was at a time that she was just about ready to give up, after having grown tired from plugging away at it single-handedly.

But the story about how the mats were impacting Chilliwack people in real life, had the effect of regalvanizing her, and she carried on.

It was a YouTube video about how to make them, that first got the retired school board employee thinking, ‘I could do that.’

When she first started a few years ago, Simmill asked people she knew to collect clean bags for her. Then someone suggested she ask local businesses, and that ramped things up. Her garage filled up with plastic strips.

Local downtown merchants like Lolly’s Fashion Lounge and Mary’s on Wellington have been super about helping by putting aside plastic bags and plastic wrapping to contribute to Simmill’s project.

“It’s amazing,” said Lois Chadburn, owner of Lolly’s, said about the mat-making.

They even made a video from the store asking people to come down and donate recycled plastic bags to help Simmill make the plarn balls.

“The fact that Judy takes the time to do this to help people, and it’s another way to divert plastic, we were super excited to help her out,” Chadburn said.

Anyone interested in collecting bags, or making mats can contact Judy Simmill of Chilliwack from her Facebook profile.

Asked to conclude with why she makes the mats, Simmill added:

“If even one person can use it and it makes their life easier, I’m ok,” Simmill said. “Just one.”

READ MORE: This guys makes mats out of election signs

READ MORE: More head into shelters when it’s freezing outside


Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
jfeinberg@theprogress.com


@CHWKjourno
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

HomelessnessHousing crisisRecycling

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Judy Simmill and one of her crocheted sleeping mats made from plastic bags. (Jennifer Feinberg/ The Progress)

Just Posted

Mysterious bang booms over Sumas Mountain once again

Police unsure of source, quarry companies say, ‘not us’

Chilliwack widow ‘crushed’ over stolen T-shirts meant for memorial blanket

Lori Roberts lost her fiancé one month ago Tuesday now she’s lost almost all she had left of him

Local developer’s Abbotsford homes shortlisted for two national housing awards

Algra Bros. won in 2014 for Garrison Crossing brownstones in Chilliwack

City of Abbotsford spends comparatively little on culture, new report finds

City asks public for input on new culture strategy

Retail renovations, townhomes and mansion: January’s biggest building projects

About $24 million worth of building permits were issued in Abbotsford in January of 2020.

Pipeline dispute: Tories put no-confidence motion on House of Commons agenda

Conservatives say they have no confidence in the Trudeau government to end the rail blockades

Province shows no interest in proposed highway between Alberta and B.C.

Province says it will instead focus on expanding the Kicking Horse Canyon to four lanes

First case of COVID-19 in B.C. has fully recovered, health officer says

Three other cases are symptom-free and expected to test negative soon

A&W employees in Ladysmith get all-inclusive vacation for 10 years of service

Kelly Frenchy, Katherine Aleck, and Muriel Jack are headed on all-expenses-paid vacations

Via Rail lays off 1,000 employees temporarily as anti-pipeline blockades drag on

The Crown corporation has suspended passenger trains on its Montreal-Toronto and Ottawa-Toronto

VIDEO: Knife-wielding man arrested after barricading himself in Lower Mainland Walmart

A man had barricaded himself in the freezer section of the fish area at a Walmart in Richmond

Budget 2020: Weaver ‘delighted,’ minority B.C. NDP stable

Project spending soars along with B.C.’s capital debt

Langley teen who died of apparent drug overdose to receive a hockey-themed memorial

Police report on Carson Crimeni case now in the hands of Crown counsel

Langley mother struck down in ‘terrifying’ crosswalk near elementary school

It was an incident long foretold by Shortreed Elementary parents and students

Most Read