Monday Night
51°
Slight Chance Thunderstorms
39%
Tuesday
74°
Partly Sunny
7%
Tuesday Night
53°
Mostly Clear
6%
Wednesday
80°
Partly Sunny
10%
Wednesday Night
67°
Slight Chance Thunderstorms
28%
Thursday
83°
Chance Thunderstorms
49%
Thursday Night
69°
Chance Thunderstorms
50%
Friday
82°
Chance Thunderstorms
40%
Friday Night
68°
Chance Thunderstorms
40%
Saturday
81°
Chance Thunderstorms
40%
Saturday Night
64°
Slight Chance Thunderstorms
21%
3 Day
Extended
Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

Volunteers turn trash into treasure for homeless

St. Nicholas Church

By Margie Wuebker

Volunteers Betty Pothast of Versailles, left, and Joni Schmidt of Osgood, displa. . .

OSGOOD - Finding a way to provide warmth and comfort for the homeless is in the bag, according to volunteers at St. Nicholas Catholic Church.
They turn plastic shopping bags - the kind that come from supermarkets, department stores and a host of other retail outlets - into sleeping mats for St. Vincent de Paul Gateway Shelter in Dayton.
Joni Schmidt and Donna Grieshop first heard about the philanthropic project from church members in neighboring Versailles.
"I nearly laughed when I first heard about the project," Schmidt said. "And the more I thought about it, the more intriguing the idea became. After all, most of us have a seemingly endless supply of plastic bags."
The women first attended a work session in Versailles and discovered the process was not as difficult as they imagined. After receiving permission to use the St. Nicholas basement for the project, they issued a plea for bags because it takes 500 to 700 bags to make one 3-by-6-foot mat.
"People really stepped up," Schmidt said. "I went to the church vestibule every day and found the garbage cans placed there overflowing with bags. Even the CCD kids brought bags from home."
Eighteen women showed up for the first work session earlier this month, while Tuesday night's work session had slim attendance due to the first snowstorm of the year. A number of volunteers also work from home.
Schmidt and fellow worker Betty Pothast demonstrated the process needed to turn grocery bags into plastic yarn or "plarn." The bags are flattened and cut into 3-inch-wide strips before looping and knotting the strips to form a large ball for crocheters.
Schmidt pointed out it is easy to pick out quilters in the group. They come with rotary cutters and measuring gauges; the non-quilters rely on scissors and rulers. Thicker toothpicks come in handy to pick apart misplaced knots.
"This is something that you can do at home in front of the television," Grieshop said. "Sometimes my husband (Jerry) gets involved, and he's better at looping than I am."
It takes an hour or more to create a ball slightly smaller than a volleyball with five to six balls needed per mat.
Marianne Brunswick reached for a fat, P-size crochet needle and began turning the "plarn" into a long chain.
"I am used to crocheting, but this took some getting used to," she said. "First, the needle is bigger and second, plarn is different from regular yarn."
Brunswick prefers to use plastic of the same weight and density and variegated colors to make an attractive mat.
The finished mats are lightweight and heavy duty, lasting longer than cloth blankets, and repel water and insects, according to a shelter volunteer. The mats also are made with an accompanying cord so they can be rolled up and secured.
The first 10 mats from the St. Nicholas group are to be delivered Dec. 14.
"I tried one of the mats myself," Schmidt said. "It adds some softness, and it certainly beats sleeping on the bare floor."
Additional online stories on this date
The Mercer County Sheriff's Office is investigating the discovery of a man in his 70s and a woman in her 40s found dead this morning in a home near Fort Recovery. [More]
GRAND LAKE - The University of Findlay's biology department received a $4,978 Ohio EPA mini grant to fund educational experience related to Grand Lake. [More]
Letters sent from area youngsters to Santa Claus will be published in The Daily Standard on Dec. 23.
Children should include their full names and h [More]
Subscriber only stories on this date
Township's tornado sirens shut down
Tests show drugs in driver
Funds awarded to help needy with transportation
New county administrator hired
Teen allegedly under influence during crash
Turnovers, cold shooting are hampering Parkway
Flyers' Rutschilling taking advantage of his time to shine
Celina sweeps Van Wert in the pool
Experience, depth are concerns for Celina
Bulldogs will rely on seven this season
Coldwater's hoops delayed by football again
Cavaliers welcome back a veteran lineup
Fort Recovery welcomes back talented roster
Bihn hoping that his Indians are reloading
Flyers' new coach playing the waiting game
Marion Local has strong nucleus returning
Minster getting a late start because of football
Stechschulte's Wildcats are inexperienced
Daugherty has veteran team for first season
New Bremen hoping momentum carries over
Defending MAC champs are young this year
Rangers need to avoid injuries with small roster
Snyder the new man in charge at Parkway
Kallas hoping experience will bring more wins
Four starters return for St. Henry this year
Redskins hoping to utilize 10-person rotation
Roughriders are improving under Hegemier
Roughriders rebuilding after winning WBL