Mats Made In Heaven created inside a Hopedale church

Mats Made In Heaven created inside a Hopedale church

HOPEDALE, Mass. — There’s a little slice of heaven inside Hopedale Union Church in Hopedale. Darrah Durand recently launched a non-profit called Mats Made In Heaven.

“The amount of bags I’m receiving is just insane,” she said.

Durand takes recycled plastic bags and transforms them into comfortable sleeping mats to help keep the homeless warm and dry. The mats, she said, are easy to clean.

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“It’s Shaw’s bags, it’s Target, Market Basket, Stop & Shop. Your typical grocery bags,” Durand said.

Durand flattens each bag, cuts-off the tops and bottoms and then weaves them together. She substitutes yarn with the recycled plastic bags. It takes about 700 bags to make one mat. Most are about 6-feet long by 3-feet wide.

Darrah Durand cutting plastic bags to create her mats.
Darrah Durand cutting plastic bags to create her mats.

“You have to have the same amount of darker bags verse the lighter bags because you have to weave them you don’t want to lose sight of your pattern or anything,” she said.

According to the Earth Policy Institute, Americans use 100-billion plastic bags each year and, since they cannot be recycled in your curbside recycling bins, there is another benefit to the project.

“Everyone always mentions, oh yeah, I just throw away my plastic bags, and it’s so wasteful, What a great way to take that and upcycle it and for a positive use for someone else,” Durand said.

Volunteers can help with mats each Sunday from 12-2 p.m. at Hopedale Union Church, 25 Dutcher St., Hopedale, MA 01747. There is also a workshop on March 10 from 5-7 p.m. Each participant will be provided with bags to create a mat for someone in need. More information can be found on their Facebook page.