Every Thursday morning for the last year and a half a group of women gather at the Denver Street Baptist Church to work together to crochet mats for the needy in Haiti.
“I saw it on TV where the Methodist Church in Fort Smith does this,” said Sherry Laminack with the church’s women’s ministry. “We were looking for a craft project and we decided that this is what we wanted to do and so we went to the church and they showed us how to make them.”
Each mat takes between four to 10 hours each to make and that is just the act of crocheting the mats. Before a mat can be crochet the bags have to be gathered, smoothed out, cut into strips and rolled into balls. It takes approximately 500 to 700 bags to make each mat depending on whether it is for a child or an adult.
Eric Daniel’s class at Greenwood High School even helped out by gathering some bags and cutting them into strips for the group as a community project.
Kristi Phillips, owner of the Greenwood Flower Shop, traveled to Haiti in 2013 on a mission trip. “It was a life changing experience,” said Phillips. “A lot of the people do not have clothes. They have had an earthquake and a hurricane and the government never rebuilt.”
Since that time Kristi and her husband, Charles, have been gathering donations and taking them to Florida once a year that then gets put onto a boat and shipped to a missionary in Haiti by the name of David Wine.
According to Phillips many of the people in Haiti sleep on the ground, cardboard or anything that they could find so she was interested when she found out that there was a group in Greenwood making the sleeping mats out of recycled shopping bags.
The group has made 60 new mats since September, but hopes to have 100 at the end of August when they plan on shipping them overseas.
“We want to provide physical comfort for them said Laminack.“And our hope is that through this project that the people will come to know Jesus.”