Avondale Unrolls Sacks to Mats Program
On a single night in January, 610,042 people were experiencing homelessness according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness. The overall economy is starting to recover, but this improvement does not appear to be penetrating lower-income populations. The pool of people at risk of homelessness has remained high despite improvements in unemployment and the overall economy.
That’s why volunteers in Avondale have taken on a mission to help Arizona’s homeless population. Their initiative is designed to alleviate two major issues at once — keeping plastic bags out of landfills and providing the homeless with a softer place to sleep. The “Sacks to Mats” program takes ordinary grocery store bags and turns them into protective cushions for Arizona’s homeless to sleep on. The average American family takes home almost 1,500 grocery bags each year, and less than five percent are recycled, the Environmental Protection Agency reports.
The group’s goal is to make fifteen mats by March 31st, which is when the Men’s Overflow Shelter in Phoenix will close its doors, leaving hundreds to sleep in an empty parking lot. Dozens of volunteers have stepped in to help at Mosaic Arts Center in Avondale. Each mat uses about 600 bags, which means they need at least 9,000 to meet their goal. Donation boxes have been set up throughout the city for people to drop off plastic bags including the Avondale Community Center, the Avondale Elementary District Office, the Avondale Police Department, and the Mosaic Arts Center in Avondale.
People can also volunteer to prepare the bags. Bag preparation events will be held from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Thursdays at the Avondale Civic Center Library located at 11350 Civic Center Drive, and crochet classes will be offered from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. every Tuesday at Mosaic Arts Center.
The mats will be donated to the Salvation Army along with hygiene care packages, which will then be given to the homeless as a replacement for the typical cardboard used on the streets. For details on how you can donate or help with the Sacks to Mats cause, click here.
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