The Kamloops Mat Project: Helping the Needy

A little back in time, around one and a half years, a woman in Kamloops invented an innovative idea to help the needy and helpless. She used grocery plastic bags to make mats for homeless people.

To date, the woman has provided more than one hundred mats to the homeless. Around five hundred to seven hundred plastic bags are used to create one mat. It takes one week to make each mat.

The project was started by Shar Froese. Shar came across an interesting video of making mats using plastic bags, a year ago. The video interested her and last year she started the project of crocheting mats using plastic grocery bags.

She was excited to make these mats as they offer a comfortable surface for the needy to sleep on. Sleeping on mats is, of course, better than sleeping on concrete or mud. It offers a barrier that retains heat well.

After making a few mats, she initiated a project to help homeless people.

Many people joined Froese in her initiative. Hundreds of volunteers happily joined her and to date, they have given out around one hundred and fifteen mats to the homeless.

Shar says she is still amazed by what she is doing. She just wanted to make one mat and never thought that a simple idea would shape up like this.

While discussing her initiative with Kamloops Matters, she said that every mat weighs around five to six pounds. It takes around five hundred to seven hundred grocery bags to make each mat.

Shar makes two kinds of mats, a bigger mat for people, as well as a smaller mat, for pets.

Volunteers sort the plastic grocery bags first, then the bags are flattened, tied, and then crocheted.

The mats like rubber mats, EVA interlocking mats, or best kids playground mats are expensive. But Shar Froese’s mats are inexpensive and can be used in multiple ways.

Froese is happy about receiving support from seniors’ homes and grocery stores. She believes that the initiative would not have been successful without the support of the community.

The senior homes that joined in for support include Bedford Manor, Kamloops Seniors Village, Berwick, and Riverbend. The businesses collecting the plastic bags include Second Chances Thrift Store, Dallas Market Fresh, Sportsman Light Truck, and Hub Insurance (Fortune Centre). The businesses offering plastic bags include Safeway (Sahali and North Shore), Save-On-Foods (Sahali and Valleyview), The Gap, Home Depot, and Cleo.

Ginnie Nadalin, a Chartwell Kamloops resident introduced this project to her seniors home. The residents come together every Wednesday at 11 a.m. to flatten the plastic bags, cut strips, as well as helping with other tasks.

She adds that people come together, work, and chat. No one sits quietly. People have fun working together. They are very excited about the project.

They divide the task between them. Every person is given a step to deal with.

Froese always seeks more volunteers, as well as more plastic bags. She always welcomes people with open arms to join the initiative and help the homeless and needy.

Shruti Gupta

Shruti Gupta is a writer and digital marketing consultant at She has a passion for technology, startups and other business topics. She lives and breathes digital marketing, and has contributed to a number of famous websites. Her aim is to spread her thought-provoking ideas to all generations.