Summer is finally here!

Hi Everyone,
It’s been a busy month, or should I say 3 months. April was Earth month, then May had the overflow of commitments and now school has finished for the summer. Teachers have been dropping off hundreds of mats as they clear out their classrooms. As of this morning with 2 loads of mats taken to Canadian food for Children we have sent 6529 mats since January. Thank you to all who have done so much so far this year.
Many of you continue to weave throughout the summer, and my next “pick up your bags day” will be on Thursday, July 18th. Let me know if you are coming to get your supply of milk bags. If you are in need of bags and cannot make it for the 18th, let me know and I will arrange a time that will work for you.
One thing that would make accepting the mats a bit easier would be of they were rolled or folded and then tied at both ends with a string of milk bag plastic. I have spent over 15 hours this month tying mats. It takes only a few minutes to tie your mat once it comes off the frame, but when I get hundreds of mats, it takes me hours to tie them. The reason I tie the mats is that it makes it much easier for the volunteers to handle them at the warehouse. The mats are  either stacked on pallets or stuffed around boxes, so you can  imagine what it would look like if a pile of untied mats fell off a  pallet. I know the volunteers are busy and I don’t want extra work for them as they pack the containers to go overseas.
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Happy Canada Day, and enjoy the summer.. with a little weaving on the side.
Take care,
Angela

Angela’s May Report

Hi Everyone,
I am sending our newsletter a few days early as there are things I want to share with you.
Our mat making production continues to grow and we are now at 5305 mats for the year 2019; thank you for all your work.
The following is a touching message from Stewart who is a frame builder, and who drives mats to the warehouse for some of the schools in York Region.
“The fellow that helped me unload at the Canadian Food for Children depot asked me to pass this along to you. He was in Liberia and a woman was proudly showing him her home – dirt floors and all. The only thing in the house was one of the milk bag mats and she was extremely proud of it”.
When I read the above, it touched my heart. I am not ashamed of all we have here in Canada, but feel blessed. However, this woman only owned a mat and she was grateful for the people who made it possible for her to have this. These are the stories that make this work worthwhile.
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Bags:
I have LOTS of bags in my garage but there are many places where you can pick up bags that may be more convenient for you; here is a list.
Lorraine in Cornwall.. her email address is: lorrainekouwenberg@gmail.com phone number is: 613-363-4277
Kelly in Mississauga, she will deliver if you live in the Mississauga, Brampton and Oakville area… kelly.mckeown@rogers.com
Lena in Guelph/Waterloo/Elmira.. lanouna71@hotmail.com
Christine in Guelph has 100 bags… Ckrusky9@gmail.com
MY HOUSE: pick up your bags day at my place will be on.. Wednesday, June 12, please let me know if you are coming.
There are many boxes of bags at Canadian Food for Children .. please only go there from Monday to Friday 8 AM until noon.
Please contact any of these ladies if you need bags. Remember, I will be home for bag pick up on June 12.. but let me know if you are coming so I know how many people will be showing up at my home. If you need my address, just respond to this email and I will give it to you.
Happy June, and hope  your gardens grow well,
Angela

News Flash

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HI Everyone,
I wanted everyone to know that we received a donation of new milk bags from Hood Packaging. They are now available for pick up at Canadian Food for Children at 1258 Lakeshore Rd. E. Mississauga. The warehouse is open from 8 AM until noon, Monday to Friday. People will be there to show you where the bags are and there may be students able to help  you get the boxes of bags into your vehicle. PLEASE DO NOT go to the warehouse in the afternoon. Angela will shortly announce the date for a Pick up your bags Day  in Kleinburg for people who cannot make it to the warehouse.
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1. Lorraine in Cornwall has 50 boxes of new bags and she would like to share what she has.. if you live in Ottawa, around Cornwall or near there, please contact Lorraine and she will gladly share boinfo@milkbagsunlimited.caes of bags with you.Click here to contact us
We are already booking for Fall:  don’t wait  put in your request NOW for help from Angela and other volunteers. 
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Earth Month- Angela’s Message

Hi Everyone,
Hope you are all well. April, was Earth Month, so it was busy for me and for others who participate in teaching people about the milk bag project.
Last month, many people wrote to me about the number of mats they have either brought to Canadian Food for Children or taken to other places where they have found to send them. We jumped up from 1733 to 4520 mats. It is a big jump and in reality we really sent 479 this month. The other 2308 mats were the ones people wrote to me about that they have sent in the past year. They had forgotten to report how many mats they had contributed to the effort. From now on, I will  report 4520 mats plus what we make in the future months.
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I know that sometimes we question if our efforts are of any benefit, but don’t be discouraged. This past weekend, I reached out to my friends in Nicaragua where I taught mat making in October 2017. I asked the lady I left in charge of the project to tell me if what we are doing is really worthwhile.  I asked her about the mats and the pillows.. her answer, was lovely. She said, she knows how much we work here in Canada and that the project is amazing work. We all know that our mats are ALWAYS given away for free, but the Nicaraguan ladies make mats and try to sell them for a couple of dollars; this way they have a little income and can buy food for their families. She said that people are so poor they can’t always buy the mats, so she GIVES them away. The recipients don’t even have a bed to lie on and they appreciate so much what she gives them.
I have friends in Burkina Faso and a few years ago I sent them 6 mats. I found out that it is so hot in July and August that they take their mats that are usually in their house and sleep on them outdoors.
If you are like me, and sometimes get weary wondering if what you are doing is of any value, please know, I get that way too, but the testimonies of these people encourage me to continue on. I don’t know all the people who get mats through Canadian Food for Children, but if the recipients are as happy as the people I know who get them, then well done.. keep working and thank you.
Right now, I cannot have a “pick up your bags day”. However, I know places where there are bags and if you contact us , I will find a source for you. Most places that have them are schools, but their year is ending and I’m sure they will gladly share so the teachers can clean up their rooms for the summer.
Take care,
Angela

Help some underprivileged students….

Hi Everyone,
It has been another busy month and since April is Earth Month, I will be even busier. Many schools, churches and businesses want to highlight environmentally aware projects. We have had a great increase in the mat donations, and in March we sent over 700 mats to Canadian Food for Children. That adds up to 1733 mats donated since January 2019. Thank you to all those who wrote to me to give me their numbers of mats they delivered to the warehouse. Many mats came to my home for delivery, but many of you delivered directly to the warehouse yourselves.. Thank you.
This newsletter is going to be long, but I need to write it to help some students.
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I wanted to take the opportunity to share with you the amazing day I had this past Saturday, March 30. I was introduced to a student event that I had never heard of… it is called DI or Destination Imagination. This is a non-profit organization that involves students from kindergarten to university levels. It challenges students to work together to solve STREM based challenges. Teams of 2-7 students have to find a solution to a Central Challenge, where they have to do research write scripts, build sets and costumes using engineering and technology ideas. They then compete at the Regional (top 3 teams move on), Provincials (top 2 teams move on), and the Global/International Finals which takes place in Kansas, Missouri, in May, where they will compete against many teams from other countries around the world. Global-Finals-Home-Page
St. Andre Catholic School near Jane St. and Wilson Ave. in Toronto were participating in the event and invited me to attend. They had written a play/skit that highlighted the Milk Bag Project. I was so touched to think that after visiting their school to tell them about the project that they thought our project was worth doing their project on. These students tied for first place in all of Ontario, I was so proud of them. Not only did they come first, but they won another award called the Da Vinci Award which is for Outstanding Creativity (not skill or talent), a unique approach to the problem, and/or risk taking. This is Destination Imagination’s most prestigious award.
Why am I telling  you about this school, because they worked hard, highlighted the Milk Bag Project and because they are an inner city school. Many of the student’s families have financial challenges. I want to help these kids go to a trip of a lifetime and do their presentation in Kansas City in May. All funds for their trip MUST BE FUNDRAISED. I have found out that if you want to make a donation to help this team reach it’s dream, you can get a tax receipt if you donate $25 or more from the Toronto Catholic School Board. If you are a business and want to donate $1000, your business name will be on their t-shirts as a corporate sponsor.

Here is the information where you can donate to the board and get an automatic tax receipt.

People who wish to donate go to Schoolcashonline.com and click on Make a Donation. You click the amount and send an accompanying note to say that the donation is to go to St. André  Catholic School for their Destination Imagination Fund.

To register go to the Toronto Catholic School Board website and go to Get Started Today.   If already registered just sign in to your account

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Once you are in you can go directly to the Make a Donation button

You select your gift amount, drop down to the school location  St. André Catholic School and in the message note what it is for “St. André Destination Imagination Fund”

Then you will automatically receive a tax receipt once you add to cart
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Or you can mail your donation to:

Toronto Catholic District School Board

80 Sheppard Ave. E., 
Toronto ON., 
M2N 6E8 
phone:   416-222-8282
website:       https://www.tcdsb.org
If you feel like you would like to help these students, then please send them a donation. I am not asking you to send anything to me, just to the school board and they will divert the funds to St. Andre to the students.
A little more on this update:
Remember, other things we collect to help at Canadian Food for Children are the postage stamps, eyeglasses and now soap (laundry, or hand soap), and candles, which are used for heat and light where people don’t have electricity. 

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One other thing I will start collecting is the white plastic cap on our clear water bottles.. not the water bottle, just the caps. These caps are sent to a place in the States, weighed and turned into cash. The money goes to a Canadian Charity that buys electric wheelchairs for people in need. 
Sorry this was so long this time, but I saw a great opportunity to help kids realize a dream.
Angela

 

PICK UP BAGS TO MAKE MATS!

WEDNESDAY MARCH 6 : WATCH  CBC NEWS AT 6:0O PM (HERE AND NOW)  OR/AND RADIO 99.1  FOR THE INTERVIEW WITH THE MILKBAGS CLUB OF WILLIAMS PARKWAY  PUBLIC SCHOOL IN BRAMPTON- ONTARIO.
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Hi Everyone,
Hope you are all well.  We continue to work away and the mats keep being made. My last 2 pick up your bags day have been kind of crazy weather wise. In January the wind chill was about -30 and in February we had a snow storm, so very few boxes of bags were taken. I’m hoping most of you are running low on your supplies and will be able to make it out to our next “pick up your bags day” in March. I am setting the next Pick Up day for March 15th. If this day does not work for you, let me know and we will make other arrangements for you to get bags from me. I am working a lot this month, but will be around to make sure you get bags if the 15th does not work for  you.
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One little story.. I’ve been a bit concerned about our mat count. This past week I was at the depot to drop off mats that I had in my garage. Our count was 814 and I took 32 mats making the total to be 846. However, when I got there, there were about 20 mats on the floor that had been delivered, there were 5 mats that I saw in another area, someone was dropping off 40 and then I found out the team who had the 40 had been there a short while ago with another 100 mats. This all added up to 165 mats that I did not have on my list. The number of mats I now have documented for this year is 1011.   Many people ask me, “What number are we up to so far this year?” People love to hear how the mat count swells as it makes them feel part of a team that is working together. Personally, I like to know so I can keep people updated and also make an estimate of how many bags we have kept out of the landfill. So, all I ask is that you send me a quick email telling me how many mats you took to the depot. 
March and April will be busy months with weaving events in many places. April is always busy as it is Earth Month and many schools and community events like to have a weaving day to highlight recycling and making something useful for those in need.
Please let me know if you need bags and if you can make it to my place on March 15th.
Take care, and hopefully we will be outside with sunny warmer days this month.
Angela

Making a difference…

Hello to Everyone,
Hard to believe, but we have entered the new month of February, January flew by in my estimation.
Just a short email to tell you we are still weaving the milk bags and making a difference to the people who receive the mats. During the cold month of January, a friend of mine was asked by a couple of groups for mats to give to the homeless in the Toronto area. We of course helped out and provided what we could.
In the month of January I visited a church group of 110 youth who were from all over the world and we wove mats for a service project during their weekend conference. I was at a Global human rights conference in Hamilton where multiple schools visited where children got to see many initiatives that are being done around the Toronto area, as well as had a chance to weave at the Milk Bags Unlimited booth. I was at a Synagogue, where a group of volunteers gathered to weave. As well, this past week, I was at a school in Markham with 750 students who had the opportunity to get involved with the project.
So far this year we have sent 514 mats to the depot. We are getting offers from people who want to collect milk bags in their schools and communities. We always say yes to a collection, but we also are in need of people to weave. We could have every bag ever manufactured, but we need the volunteers to start weaving to use up the bags and make the mats.
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This month’s “pick up your bags” day will be Tuesday, February 12th. I know it is difficult for some people to come on a week day, so if you cannot make it on the 12th, please let me know when you can come. I am often home on weekends, so just let me know when you want to come and we will work it out to find a good time for both of us.
Stay warm and keep weaving,
Angela

2019 …great start….

Message from Angela, 
Hi Everyone,  Happy New Year!!

We are off to a great start for 2019; so far we have sent over 300 mats to Canadian Food for Children. 

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I want to have a pick up your bags day. I am offering 2 days for pick up, after 4 PM on Saturday, January 19th and all day on Monday, Jan 21. 
Please let me know if  you want bags, how many boxes and when  you intend on coming to my home for pick up. 
For those of you who don’t know, my address is: 
344 Westridge Drive, 
Kleinburg, 
8 minutes west of Canada”s Wonderland north of  the intersection  of Major MacKenzie and Islington. 
Hope to see you you, 
Angela

Message from Bettina

Happy New Year too…

I would like to thank thank all the people who take the time to contact us.  The information e mail is keeping me busy every day!  We are looking for new contacts from you, especially from  all over Ontario.  We have people inquiring about milk bag drop off places, others would like to join weavon groups.

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Anyone crochet?  We are in dire need of  crocheted  Handbags , their sale helps us cover a little bit od our expenses.

I am also looking for people willing to sew grocery bags out of curtain material. for more information about the cloth bags  usage  go to our new Facebook MILKBAGSunlimited Page.

Thank you all in advance.

Bettina    

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Sharing good news …

MILKBAGSunlimited ( Angela Kesthely & Bettina Roth ), want to thank the many students, teachers and parents that have embraced  and work hard to help save the planet while providing much needed  woven mats of all sizes.

Through the year, we receive many inquiries from schools all around Ontario about creating mats out of milk bags.
This project is a tremendous learning experience for all students and staff as it represents an opportunity to help the environment by using milk bags in an effective way, and preventing them from ending up in landfills. It is also an opportunity to help people who may not have beds to sleep in or chairs to sit on.
Students are surprised and saddened to learn that there are children and adults in parts of our country, and in the rest of the world, who do not have beds or chairs. They become inspired and excited about making a difference by collecting milk bags and making pads to sit on and mattresses to lie on for those who are in need.

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From M.M in Brampton

Milkbags is run by the students (Grade 6 – 8, 11 -13) as a “non-profit business” with executive, quality control, inventory control, supervisors. Between 15 and 30 students meet every school day for 40 minutes. Each member learns all phases of production, trained by other students. Executive members interview and select new trainees to executive, quality control, supervisors and pr. School-wide contests collected 13,000 milk bags which are currently being processed. In one year, we have produced 18 6ft x 4ft mats with pillows which are being dropped off to one of the locations on Dec 7 or 10. We have a photo of the students with the Milk Bag mats if you’d like.

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From A.K in Acton

Acton High School has started the process! We have two frames and they will be travelling to various classes to have as many students as possible feel involved.Acton Frame
Please share our info with anyone close to Acton that has bags to share.
They can drop them off at
Acton High School
21 Cedar Rd
Acton ON.
We have 9 mats finished and each filled with a pillow, shoes and some clothing. We will be delivering them to you when we have 15 made.

From A.L in Brampton

I am a teacher at Goldcrest Public School, an ECO school. I emailed before, in order to find out how the school could become a drop off centre for milk bags in Brampton. I know there is only one center in Brampton, based on your website, but Goldcrest Public School would also like to be a centre, if possible.
We will begin collecting in the new year:

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Goldcrest Public School
24 Goldcrest Rd,
Brampton, ON
L6S 1G3
Drop Off at entrance doors.

 

From N.D in York Region

I am a teacher at a school in York Region (GTA), Ontario, Canada, and would like to know if you would be available/interested to attend our Eco Fair on April 23rd, 2019 (tentative date). We host several Eco-Friendly companies to come and have a display table/booth at our school, and would be super excited if you would be able to join us to help educate students on the amazing work that you do. We have been weaving milk mats here since 2016 and the whole school gets really involved. We can have our loom and milk bags set up at a station for you to do the demo with our Eco team when you come.

‘m a teacher at a school in York Region (GTA), Ontario, Canada, and would like to know if you would be available/interested to attend our Eco Fair on April 23rd, 2019 (tentative date). We host several Eco-Friendly companies to come and have a display table/booth at our school, and would be super excited if you would be able to join us to help educate students on the amazing work that you do. We have been weaving milk mats here since 2016 and the whole school gets really involved. We can have our loom and milk bags set up at a station for you to do the demo with our Eco team when you come.

Note: we will be there! k-12-schools-construction-unionville-chadds-ford-school-district-unionville-high-school-1

From J.P in Unionville

I am hoping you can help. I teach at Unionville HS and we have made around 10 milk bag mats and would live to donate them. The bags have been collected by the school members and put together by our Community Class.

 

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