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Batch of homemade sleeping mats delivered to homeless in Kamloops

Kori, a client at New Life Community, is pleased with his new sleeping mat and wants to learn how to make them himself. Shar Froese hopes that by making these sleeping mats out of plastic bags destined for the landfill, she can help local people in need.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Shar Froese
June 16, 2017 - 5:30 PM

KAMLOOPS – Several homeless people in Kamloops will rest a little more comfortably tonight thanks to a local woman and her mission to deliver homemade sleeping mats to every street person in the city.

Shar Froese uses plastic grocery bags which are no longer accepted in curb side recycling pickup to crochet lightweight sleeping mats for those with nowhere to go.

Ever since the original story on Froese's labour of love published at iNFOnews.ca, she's been organizing – and crocheting – like crazy. Volunteers and help came pouring in and Froese is busy trying to keep up with all the attention. Today she created a Facebook page to better communicate with everyone.

Froese has a very close and personal connection to the project. Her daughter struggled with mental health problems and lived on the street for a period of time. She was able to clean up and get off the streets, but she passed away last year due to a brain aneurysm.

"Her aim was to work with the homeless, especially addicts. She never got the opportunity. If it wasn't for people out there who helped her, should would have been dead a long time ago. So I think if I can pay it forward, I will, " Froese says.

Froese and her crew of volunteers spend a lot of time talking to young people, teaching them the craft and trying to get schools involved in the project.

"I'm trying to get the message out to kids at schools, that they are not all drug addicts or drunks," she says. "You don't have to be afraid. Don't judge them all as useless because it's just not true."

Shar Froese hopes these mats can offer some comfort to those with nowhere else to go.
Shar Froese hopes these mats can offer some comfort to those with nowhere else to go.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Shar Froese

At the moment, Froese and her crew are searching for a public space to display the mats, so people can see and understand the final product.

Mothers with kids living on the streets have started calling Froese, sharing stories and asking for more information about the project.

"Their stories are pretty unbelievable. They are our kids, here in Kamloops," she says. "There are reasons why people are out there. But anyone can clean up if given the chance."

Cutting, sorting, flattening, the bags is time consuming, but necessary before crocheting can begin. Froese is looking for anyone interested in helping out with those tasks and learning to crochet.

Locals are getting behind the project in a big way. Folks from Kamloops Senior Village, Girl Guides, Canadian Mental Health Association, Arthur Stevenson Elementary school and many more are grabbing the crochet hooks to help out. Froese and her crew are always looking for plastic bags, colourful ones, if possible.

Clean plastic grocery bags can be donated at these locations:

  • Brock Seniors Activity centre 9A-1800 Tranquille Road (main drop off point)
  • The Garage 1331 Battle Street
  • SPCA Thrift Store 634 Victoria Street
  • Aall Glass 437 Mount Paul Way
  • Knit2 Yarns 40-1967 Trans Canada Highway East
  • Canadian Mental Health Association 857 Seymour Street

Regan, an outreach worker at the New Life Community, is in charge of mat distribution. If you know someone in need of a mat call 250-372-9898.

Froese's grandson Brody Passmore hands a completed mat to Regan, an outreach worker with New Life Community.
Froese's grandson Brody Passmore hands a completed mat to Regan, an outreach worker with New Life Community.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Shar Froese

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kim Anderson or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2017
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