Claudia Washington of Killona was looking for a new hobby to enjoy. She’s found it, and through that, also a way to lend a helping hand to those in need.It began when Washington and her fellow attendees at the Killona Community Center met with Wayne Abadie of New Life Community Church in Luling. Abadie pitched a unique idea: he was there to show them how to crochet plastic grocery bags to make sleeping mats for the community’s homeless.
Washington quickly found her inspiration and not only proved herself a quick study, but a determined finisher: she was done with her first mat within three weeks, donating it and making a difference in the process.
“When he came to us with that idea, we all were clueless to what he was talking about at first,” said Trenee Royal of the Killona Community Center. “Sleeping mats out of plastic bags? But when he expanded on the idea, it was wonderful.
“Miss Claudia really took to it. For most people, that would take you or I forever to do. But she was so fast. She got excited about doing it.”
Washington had been interested in crocheting before and her knowledge helped her quickly get on track with her new project.
“I thought it was great,” she said of the idea. “When he showed us how to do that, it was just so interesting to me, a way to recycle these bags, not just throw them in the trash, and help someone out. Usually, when they have something going on at the Community Center, I try to participate, and with this I got started quickly.
“I knew a bit about crocheting and probably had a little more time on my hands than the others. I babysit during the day. During my free time, I’d do it. If I was sitting in front of the TV, I’d do it.”
Royal said that within a couple days of Abadie’s visit, Washington was already asking if the center had some spare bags to use. Some were donated, and once Washington came by to get them, it wasn’t long after until her friends at the center saw her finished product.
“It’s rewarding (to help someone),” Washington said. “Along with the mats, we can give some personal items, little bags, that they can use. I just thought it was a great idea.”
A great idea, though she said despite her fast finish, it was still a bit challenging to convert the bags into yarn-like strips. Once that part was complete, she was well on her way, though.
“It takes some work to get into the crocheting part of it. But I was happy with it,” she said.
She’s not done, as Washington has plans in motion to crochet another mat in the near future.
“The first one was a little curvy … this time, I’d like to try and perfect it,” she said.