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

(Photo: Twitter@SurreyRCMP)
Surrey Mounties, pet owners, bracing for Halloween

Last year the Surrey RCMP received 147 fireworks complaints on Diwali and 121 on Halloween

(Delta Police Department photo)
Delta police investigating after another teen girl followed in Tsawwassen

Police say a man in a burgundy car approached teen girls on at least two, possibly three occasions

White Rock RCMP are searching for Richard John Lewis, who is wanted on warrants for assault and uttering threats. (RCMP handout)
White Rock RCMP searching for wanted man

Richard John Lewis is wanted on warrants for assault, uttering threats

A reminder to students at Surrey’s Strawberry Hill Elementary to physically distance during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Seven more Surrey schools reporting COVID-19

INTERACTIVE TABLE: Search for schools, organize by exposure dates

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps by 287, another senior home outbreak

Two more deaths recorded, community outbreak in Okanagan

An untitled Emily Carr painting of Finlayson Point was donated to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria by brothers Ian and Andrew Burchett. The painting had been in their family for several decades. (Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria)
Never before seen painting by famed B.C. artist Emily Carr gifted to Victoria gallery

Painting among several donated to Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

The B.C. Centre for Disease control is telling people to keep an eye out for the poisonous death cap mushroom, which thrives in fall weather conditions. (Paul Kroeger/BCCDC)
Highly poisonous death cap mushroom discovered in Comox

This marks first discovery on Vancouver Island outside Greater Victoria area

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
Rescued bald eagle that came to life in B.C. man’s car had lead poisoning

Bird is on medication and recovering in rehab centre

Janet Austin, lieutenant governor of B.C., was presented with the first poppy of the Royal Canadian Legion’s 2020 Poppy Campaign on Wednesday. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
PHOTOS: B.C. Lieutenant Governor receives first poppy to kick off 2020 campaign

Janet Austin ‘honour and a privileged’ to receive the poppy

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Premier-elect John Horgan and cabinet ministers are sworn in for the first time at Government House in Victoria, July 18, 2017. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)
Pandemic payments have to wait for B.C. vote count, swearing-in

Small businesses advised to apply even if they don’t qualify

The B.C. Teacher Regulation Branch has issued a decision about the actions of an elementary school teacher in Langley. (Langley Advance Times files)
Langley elementary teacher suspended for grabbing, shoving, yelling at kids

Roxann Rojas will lose her legal authority to teach for two weeks from Oct. 25 to Nov. 7, 2020

A raccoon paid a visit to a Toronto Tim Hortons on Oct. 22, 2020. (shecallsmedrew/Twitter)
Who are you calling a trash panda? Raccoon takes a shift at Toronto Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons said animal control was called as soon they saw the surprise visitor

Most Read