Last year, students at St. Patrick Catholic School (Harrowsmith) collected over 8,000 bags and sent them on to Dufferin-Peel Catholic School Board, where they were woven into mats for eboli victims. The mats last up to 20 years and repel insects and scorpions.
This year, the school decided to make their own mats. Students helped build 10 frames (one for each classroom) and screws were donated by Trousdale's Home Hardware in Sydenham.
Gr. 7/8 students have taken a lead role in starting the weaving process for classes and demonstrated the proper procedure to make mats. They are also responsible for completing the finished edge by braiding the ends.
Junior and intermediate students have been involved with counting bags, packing them and making plarn, (plastic yarn). In one 45 min. period, Mr. D'Amico's Gr. 5/6 class cut up over 800 bags and made plarn.
The mats will be shipped for free through the Canadian Food for Children Foundation as they are used as packing material which can be very expensive if purchased. They will go to countries where they are needed, Africa, South America, wherever the food and supply shipment goes.
They must be transported to the Toronto area where they will be used as packing material in the shipping containers. The mats will be rolled and tied with plarn for shipping. The local parish has decided to weave mats as well!
So far the St. Patrick Catholic School Community has collected over 9,000 milkbags. The estimate that they use about 100 bags to make one child size mat.
Grade 8 students, Emily and Hannah say that they hope to make 100 mats. They say that the hardest part of weaving the mats is the beginning and end, but these students help the younger grades get started and finish the mats.
This initiative has the whole community involved, including the local parish. All grades, even kindergarten are hard at work to weave mats weekly, demonstrating Faith in Action.