'Plarn People' making mats for the needy

Bill Kalina
York Dispatch

Most people would consider the task of dealing with thousands of empty plastic grocery bags a burden, not a blessing.

The Plarn People of Normandie Ridge welcome it.

The group culls the bags that clutter our pantries, kitchen nooks and landfills, and crochet them into mats.

Normandie Ridge resident Betty Shive talks with other Plarn People members while crocheting plastic yarn during a gathering at the residence in West Manchester Township Monday, March 18, 2019. The group, which has met monthly since November, is making sleeping mats from donated plastic shopping bags. The mats are being donated to LifePath Christian Ministries and York Helping Hands. Founder Jinny Foor said each mat requires about 700 bags and 40-50 hours of labor to complete. Bill Kalina photo

“We are making mats for the homeless and anyone else who needs them out of grocery bags,” organizer and Normandie Ridge resident Jinny Foor said.

She says it takes 700 bags and between 40 and 50 hours of work to make one mat. Throughout the group's five monthly meetings so far, about a dozen mats have been finished. Foor says much of the work is done at  volunteers’ homes.

The 2½-foot-by-6-foot mats are being donated to the York’s LifePath Christian Ministries and Helping Hands.

“People have been so generous to us (donating) plastic bags,” she said.

Formerly named the “Plarn Ladies of Normandie Ridge,” the group is currently staffed by women, but membership is not limited by gender.

“We changed the name just in case any men wanted to join us,” Foor said.

The group is open to all volunteers, even those without crocheting skills. Foor says there are ample tasks for those making the plarn, or plastic yarn.

The group meets at 2 p.m. on the third Monday of each month. in the Manchester Commons building at Normandie Ridge.

“It’s a social event,” she says. “We’re here until we’re ready to go home."