Photo by Bob Donaldson for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
A group of women in Tennessee have transformed more than 52,000 used plastic bags into waterproof sleeping mats for the local homeless population. Hailing mostly from the Second Baptist Church in Union City, the self-described “Bag Ladies” came into being in January 2015 when a man told the congregation about homeless people sleeping along the Mississippi River. The process of making the mats can be addictive, said Janice Akin, a member of the group. “It gets to the point that you do two or three and you say, ‘Hey, I’m actually making a difference in someone’s life,’ and you want to do more,” she told WGNTV.com. The process of creating the beds is simple, if involved. It starts with cutting the bags into strips, then tying those strips together to make balls of plastic yarn—or “plarn,” as the ladies call them. The Bag Ladies then crochet the “plarn” into 3-by-6-foot beds.