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Edna Toney shows one of the plastic-bags sleeping mats made for homeless veterans.

Donations of thousands of clean recyclable plastic grocery bags continue to pour into Crown Point Christian Village and have resulted in the creation of more sleeping mats for homeless veterans.

“We’ve gotten the plastic bags from everywhere in Northwest Indiana,” said Edna Toney, 84, who lives at the Crown Point Christian Village with her 89-year-old husband, Max. She introduced the idea of crocheting the plastic grocery bags into lightweight waterproof sleeping mats for homeless veterans after seeing the concept in the American Legion magazine.


The New Life for Old Bags project became a mission for a group of Crown Point Christian Village residents in independent and assisted living and for members of the First Christian Church of Crown Point.

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Now the project has “really taken off” at a number of other churches and American Legion auxiliaries including in Dyer, Edna Toney said.

“A consignment shop in DeMotte is also donating the bags,” she said.

Making each 2 1/2-by-6-foot sleeping mat takes between 600 and 700 recycled plastic bags and caring hands working independently in the retirement village homes and in groups to create the mats.

Using a large crochet hook, the women create chains 36-inches long, leaving the loops loose with a little space between each one. An extra loop at the end is used as the turning point. Row after row of plastic yarn is crocheted front to back so it doesn’t pucker up, according to the instructions Toney provided from the American Legion Auxiliary magazine.

“We don’t have enough crocheters,” she said about the project’s success. “We’re trying to teach a couple of other residents to crochet.”

The Crown Point Christian Village at 6685 E. 117th Ave. accepts donations of clean recyclable plastic grocery bags and bags used to cover delivered newspapers to create sleeping mats for homeless veterans.

For more information, contact Becky Trumpus, lifestyle coordinator, at (219) 662-0642.