A joint project between Lutheran Senior Services (LSS) communities Meridian Village and Dunn Road Manor is providing a little comfort to those who are less fortunate. Residents from Meridian Village, located in Glen Carbon, Illinois, visited Dunn Road Manor, an LSS Affordable Housing community in Florissant, Missouri, to teach their craft group how to crochet plastic mats from plastic shopping bags for people experiencing homelessness.
These mats will be donated to groups who work with people experiencing homelessness throughout the greater St. Louis area: Supportive Services for Veterans with Chestnut Health Systems, Belleville, Illinois; All Among Us, Ferguson, Missouri; and Churches on the Street, St. Louis and Madison County, Illinois. The mats are soft, can be washed off, and dry rather quickly.
“We took plastic bags, scissors, crochet hooks, and other items we needed to do this project,” explains Jeannie Artimisi, Lifestyle Enrichment Coordinator at Meridian Village. “We got to Dunn Road Manor and the ladies started showing them how to make plarn – plastic yarn – from plastic bags and we worked together. We had a great time!”
At Meridian Village they’ve been crocheting, assembling, and donating these mats for several years and were excited to share the project with another LSS community. Charlotte Gougeon, a resident at Meridian Village has been involved in this project since it started and can’t count how many mats they’ve made and donated.
“When we started this project here, one of the ladies asked me how long we are going to make mats,” says Gougeon. “And I said, ‘How long is forever?’”
There is a process for making these mats, so a lot of hands are needed. When the group gets together at Meridian Village several people prepare the plastic bags and wind up the plarn, several crochet the mats, and another attaches handles to the mats so they can be carried like a backpack.
“Projects like this are very fulfilling and they show kindness, love, caring – all represent part of LSS’ Christian Mission,” says Artimisi. “LSS residents are just wonderful and they really care about helping others.”
The latest donation consisted of 25 mats and an assortment of personal products the residents collected for the shelters.
“It’s important to me because I like to give back to the community,” adds Gougeon, who is involved in a number of activities both through Meridian Village and her church. “This a good thing to do, it helps with two issues – ecology and homelessness.”
These aren’t the only communities doing good. Check out these other altruistic projects from LSS communities:
Residents at Heisinger Bluffs, an LSS Life Plan Community in Jefferson City, Missouri, sewed pillows for children at the Special Learning Center, which provides comprehensive, early intervention services for children with developmental delays and disabilities.
These projects not only help LSS residents to live their lives to the fullest, but by giving back LSS residents are helping others do the same.