You might not see them every day, but there are homeless people living in communities all across our area.
Now, a group of women found a way to help people in need, and the environment, at the same time.
Plastic shopping bags are in high demand at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Pensacola.
"I like to be called a bag lady," said Carol Wheeler, a member of the Emerald Coast Bag Ladies.
It's because the bags are transformed into sleeping mats for the homeless.
"It means a lot with the temperatures as cold as they are to be able to give these mats out to someone," added Wheeler.
Carol Wheeler and dozens of members of the Emerald Coast Bag Ladies spent hours Saturday morning to help make the homeless days and nights more comfortable.
"I go out to various groups and teach them how to do this process and then myself I like to crochet and make the mats," explained Wheeler.
Organizers say because the mats are crocheted they’re thicker than most blankets and much more comfortable to sleep on.
To make the sleeping mats, volunteers braid plastic bags together.
"I feel that it is a worthwhile project. I feel like I’m really making a difference in somebody's life," mentioned Bernice Dixon.
It can take up to 700 bags and more than a month of work to make one mat.
It is Riley Wheeler's first time helping with the project.
"When I see homeless people on the street and holding the signs, I always feel guilty for [not] having nothing to give them so it's nice to be able to do it in a different way," Riley Wheeler said.
Bernice Dixon says she heard about the group and joined right away. She helps set up bag donation sites and picks up bags to bring to the group.
"These mats are warm. When I first started my little dog was laying on one and I told her to get off and then I felt the mat and it had absorbed all of her body heat and I thought, 'oh if it does it for a dog what can it do for a human?'," said Dixon.
Wheeler says she would like to be able to distribute more sleeping mats for the homeless, which is why she is starting different groups across Northwest Florida.
"We'd love to just give them out in the thousands but it takes time," Wheeler added.
Organizers say if you would like to help with the project you can follow the group on Facebook at "#Crocheted mats for the homeless".
Read original article at www.wearetv.com.