Our year 2015 is drawing to a close, and with it comes my newsletter with details on what we have accomplished. Many things have happened this year and new friendships and partners have been made. Mats, mats and more mats have left my garage for places all over the world. In 2014 we sent 1706 mats overseas, and I thought the goal of 2015 mats in the year 2015 would be a lot to ask for this year. Well, we made 2015 mats by the time August was here. We have well surpassed the number and I’m pleased to tell you we have sent 3517 mats this year. I can hardly believe it. My son told me next years goal should be 4032 (2016 times 2)!! What do you think, can we do it? Our grand total of mats sent since we started making them is 6577, and we have saved 5.7 million milk bags from the landfills across Eastern Canada. This number of bags, is partly the ones used in the mats, and the bags we have in storage ready to be woven. We have lots of bags and what we need is more weavers. If anyone knows of individuals or groups who would like to get involved in this project, please give them my contact or tell them to send an email to MILKBAGSunlimited | empower people, save the planet where they can learn to make mats in the “how to” section. We have a lot of people who want to donate bags (I was told that even yesterday we had 7 emails from people who want to donate bags.. we need more weavers to process these bags).
About a month ago I was sent an email from a lady who is the sister in-law to a man and woman who used to own a fabric store on Spadina. Story goes that when they retired in 2006 they were told by someone that they would give him 10 cents per metre for the fabric stock. He decided not to sell the fabric and to put it in his garage. There it sat for years, until he heard of MilkbagsUnlimited and the pillows and blankets we make. With 5 people and 10 van loads and 1 truck load, a month later we emptied the garage of all this fabric. At least 5 churches, have gotten fabric for women who make clothing and blankets for the poor, I sent 3 van loads to the depot with mats and fabric that has gone to Sierra Leone, Malawi and 2 other countries, and we have tons of pillow fabric with my friend in Niagara Falls who sews our pillows. We made an estimate of how much fabric we received and it is at least one hundred thousand dollars worth and all of it has been distributed to people who will not make one penny on it, but use it for the benefit of others. Amazing gift!
Two weeks ago I received another email telling me that the manufacturers of the milk bags in Cornwall had some more seconds for me. This gift was 823,000 milk bags that could not be used by the dairies, but could be used by us. I was shocked to find out that all these bags add up to 345 boxes. What to do, what to do?? All the bags went to Burlington where there is a warehouse for milk bags and other bags that this company makes. The long and short of it is that all the bags were picked up and are now at Canadian Food For Children (our depot where the mats go). The bags are there so that everyday when they load a container for somewhere overseas, they can take a box of bags. Once the container gets to its destination the bags will be used for food distribution, such as rice, beans, lentils, etc. When we go to the depot with mats, I or someone who is driving our mats there will load up our vans and bring boxes of bags home so I can distribute them to all the people who weave. I still have boxes of bags at the barn, but these are not only for us but for destinations around the world that might join the weaving of mats next year.. more on this at a later time.
As we end 2015 I want to thank you all for your interest and dedication to the Milk Bag Project. Without all the volunteers we would not have been able to see this endeavour succeed. I wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Happy Chanukah. I say all 3 greetings because we have many people from many faiths and organizations receiving this news letter.
May your New Year be sweet and prosperous,