Update on the milk bag mat making project

Hi Everyone,

Time for an update on the milk bag mat making project. There is so much going on and I wonder where to start.

First, I would like to say thank you for all your support. We are a big team and getting bigger all the time. I have over 180 people who will receive this email, but just think of the numbers of people who will get the message from their team leader… actually a few thousand people and then add the kids in the schools. The children are amazing and they are weaving like busy beavers loving the fact that they are making mats and helping people without the comforts they have here in Canada.

Since weaving is so much easier and faster than crocheting my goal was to send a 1000 mats around the world this year… well, if it keeps up at the rate we are going we will surpass our goal (even though I know summer is coming and we slow down a bit). So far this year we have sent about 450 mats, and there are at least 30 in my garage, and more coming this week from groups doing the work. What thrills me is the giving and outpouring of generosity from so many people. We all want to help, and this is our way of helping with no cost involved, just volunteer hours. I will list a few of the places that are making mats, and this list is short because I will likely forget people. We have the probation officers with their clients, a jail in Colburg, businesses like youth services, or the Canada Revenue people in Mississauga, churches all over southern Ontario… the Pickering Presbyterian church, the Ajax Baptist Church, Our Lady Queen of the World Catholic Church on Bayview, Mayfield United Church, Albion Hills Bible Church, churches in Stouffville, Churches in Toronto and Mississauga, a church in Alliston, seniors complex in Bolton, seniors complex in Moncton, and of course all the schools in the metro area… the list goes on and on.

I received a wonderful gift a few weeks ago… some of you will laugh, but it keeps us going. I got an email from Agropur/Natrel… they had new bags that were not good for them. Some of the bags had holes in them, some were a bit sticky and some were older and if you look in the grocery stores you will see new packaging (bagging) of milk, so I guess the bags could not be used anymore. The gift I received was about 300,000 milk bags. This was exciting but caused me grief because together they weighed 5500 pounds. But not to worry, a man from my church has a truck and a trailer and he and a few friends delivered the boxes of bags to the barn where they are now stored. If anyone needs bags, please call me, I want to see them coming and going from the barn.

I entitled my email “why do we make milk bag mats?” I wanted to share with you a few statistics about world poverty. I know we can’t change the world, but maybe we can help just a little. Someone once said to me in a sarcastic way… who do you think you are? Do you think you can change the world… I said no, but maybe we can help a few have a little comfort with a milk bag mat.

Did you know that 1.4 billion people live on less than $1.25 a day? Some will say, that is ok, because things cost less in their country… no, this is not true. In Haiti a gallon of gasoline is over $5… same as here, but if you don’t have the money you can’t buy the gas. If you don’t have the money, the rice is still too expensive!!!

Did you know that 22,000 children die EACH DAY due to poverty. There are 2.2 billion children in the world and 1 billion of them are living in poverty. In our country each child has the right to an education up till grade 12, in the 3rd world countries, school comes with a tuition cost. If you can’t feed the family due to lack of funds, how can you send your child to school? Children need an education to help stop the cycle of poverty that will provide a future with sustainable development for the community.

Just think about all the Syrian refugees… wow, they are in refugee camps in Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey and other countries. Look at the news and the tents they sleep in. I can’t say that our mats go to these countries, but there is a need.

Milk bag mats, don’t feed people, they don’t educate people either, but they do help people who are bug bitten and who sleep on cardboard. The cardboard gets damp, the bugs crawl across it and bite the people. Life is tough 24/7. Our mats are only a small part of helping people but a big part for some comfort.

I found out recently that when we give a large mat to a person we think maybe 2 people can sleep on it… stupid me… they aren’t sleeping on it lenghtwise. They lay the mat out, and 5 or 6 people put their head and torso on the mat and their legs dangle off the edge and into the dirt or on the cardboard. A large mat actually is a bed for a WHOLE family.

My heart goes out, to all of you with gratitude for the work you are partnering with me to do. No, we can’t change the world, but we can help one person at a time.

Thank you again,

Hope you have a great long weekend,
Take care,