If you needed 150 milk bags in a hurry where would you look first? That’s what Lively’s own Mirja Parry was asking herself when she decided to participate in what she thinks of as a “pay it forward” project. She found out about a mat making project from a friend who lives down the street. What made her choose to get involved is that these aren’t just ordinary mats; they’re beds for children in Haiti.
Trying to figure out where she could get such a large quantity of outer milk bags, Parry went to her daughter for ideas. The result was a mass collection by Miss McLaughlin’s grade 4 class which provided Parry with a whopping 5000 bags. Since October 2010 Mrs Parry has made more than 26 sleeping mats measuring 30” by 48” in size. No small feat considering she has osteoarthritis and it takes 30 hours to crochet one and nearly as many to prep the materials.
She’s been a busy lady, washing the outer bags, cutting them into strips then looping them together into a colourful plastic chain which is rolled into a large yarn like ball. Once crocheted together the mats get sent to Barrie ON, then trucked to Nova Scotia where they are shipped to Haiti to be sent anywhere child sized sleeping mats are needed. Being plastic, the multi-coloured dream weavers are bug, water, UVA and UVB resistant. The well travelled mats keep kids from bedding directly on the ground.
Parry was saddened when she learned that a cholera outbreak in Haiti resulted in the first batch of mats having to be burned to prevent the spread of the disease. The outbreak began late Oct 2010 spreading to all 10 Haiti departments/provinces. By Mar 2011 well over 250 thousand cases were reported and more than 4000 people had died. The news only strengthened her choice to hand craft more sweet dreams for children abroad.
Should you decide to pay it forward and make a sleeping mat there are 2 sizes to choose from – adult and child. You’ll need 250 bags to make an adult mat. For a list of materials and more details visit this Kijiji ad posted from Barrie ON Ad ID 166621742. From there you can email Rachel Sauvé to get a pattern. One tip to get you started, Parry recommends using a #9 crochet hook.
© Cindy O’Neil
Published in November 2011
edition of Walden Today
Want to quote this article? Please email for permission of use.
Closing comments, tired of spam. Many thanks to those who have connected in genuine interest about the topic of this post.