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Plastic grocery bags turned into mats to help Hampton Roads homeless youth

A Virginia Beach woman is turning plastic grocery bags and into mats for the homeless.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — An idea found online led to a new hobby and a way to give back to the community. 

Stephanie Ngugi’s turning plastic grocery bags into yarn or plarn.

“As a mom and wife you always don’t get a reason to buy new craft toys,” said Ngugi.

Every cut and knot of plastic is special for Ngungi. She’s taking her plarn and crocheting mats to help homeless youth in Hampton Roads.

“It’s really cold out there right now. So, when we make these mats, we’re thinking about at least having some barrier between them and the ground, because the ground is really cold. Especially, a lot of them are at the Oceanfront," said Ngugi. 

Ngugi explained it can take up to 500-700 bags to make one mat.

“These are really sturdy. We’ll be putting handles on them and stuff, and hopefully be putting a toiletry pack in there for them," said Ngugi. 

Ngugi started this effort Friday, February 19th, 2021 and is already gaining some support. 

“It’s crazy that you can turn something out of trash into something beautiful.”

Ngugi is teaming up with Stand Up for Kids and created her own Facebook group titled Bags to Plarn.

“You’re helping the homeless teens and you’re able to save the environment. So, you’re just doing your little part to help.”

Ngugi said if you have any grocery bags, you can drop them off every Sunday at 9:15 a.m. and 10:15 a.m. at Essential Church in Virginia Beach.