Bags to Beds is an aspiring non-profit designed to reduce waste while raising awareness and creating useful resources for individuals experiencing homelessness. Jessica Edney interviews the director and founder, Kaitlin McLean.
How did you get the idea for Bags to Beds?
After I read about the tragic number of people who do not survive the cold winter nights in the Salt Lake Valley every year, I felt there had to be some way to help people survive long enough to reach the resources that already exist to help them. Then, after reading about plastic yarn, which has been around for years, I decided to use it as a tool to address the issue.
Can you explain the process of transforming plastic bags into bed mats?
We take plastic grocery bags, fold them and cut them into loops, and then tie those loops in to a long chain, which then functions as the string or “plarn” (plastic yarn). This is then crocheted into a simple 3 foot by 6 foot mat!
How does Bags to Beds involve the community?
As an organization, we work with community partners such as the Utah Food Bank and the Bennion Center consistently, and we host service projects with local groups on a weekly basis. We are also lucky enough to have a number of volunteers who work on the project from their homes on a daily basis.
How does the project help the homeless?
Our goal is to not only provide a layer of insulation for people who sleep on the ground during our cold winters, but also to raise awareness and advocacy for our homeless population through education and outreach.
How can people help or become involved with Bags to Beds?
People can become involved with us through our Facebook page or the contact form on our website.