Service Learning Council Helps the Homeless with Sustainable Craft


Image Courtesy of the WHS Service Learning Council website

The Westside Service Learning Council have prioritized the production of plastic yarn mats and fleece blankets for the homeless community in Omaha.

The Westside Service Learning Council has been working very hard to try and make the community a better place with a new sustainable project that will help keep it clean and help those who need it the most. Club sponsor Ashley Sams spoke about what the club is doing this year. 

“Currently, we are working on two projects, but our long-term project is plarn (plastic yarn) mats,” Sams said. “We take plastic grocery bags and we crochet them into mats we donate to homeless shelters. These mats are super sustainable and easy to clean, so they are not a huge burden to these people and they have something to lay on instead of the cold wet ground. 

Sams said the idea for the project was brought up in previous years.

“This idea started last school year from one of our graduating members [who] had the idea after taking a trip and seeing a large homeless community,” Sams said. “Watching them struggle was very disconcerting for him, so we have been continuing this. Even though it does take a long time, it is worth it.”

Club historian and co-secretary Zola Madsen also gave her opinion on the current projects. 

All the projects that we are working on are fun to make and are good creative outlets,” Madsen said. “Working on them makes me feel good because I know that they are going to a worthy cause. The time I have to spare working on these projects can make a huge difference in someone’s life and that motivates me to work even harder.” 

Madsen also explained how the projects will benefit the community.

“Obviously, the people that directly receive our items (mats and blankets) will be benefited,” Madsen said.  “However, the decorations that we are making for nursing homes, it affects the entire building and a wider range of people. No matter what our project is, we hope that it brings positivity to anybody that may see it. We choose projects that are both fun for us to create, as well as projects that will most benefit the community, which I think is really important.” 

Click here to visit the Service Learning Council’s website.