Suzette Hendricks saw a YouTube video that inspired her to take action and add a little comfort in the lives of the Port Elizabeth homeless.
Port Elizabeth, South Africa – Residents of the Lake Farm Centre came together with their house parent Suzette Hendricks to reuse pesky plastic packets and do something good for the homeless with them.
The Lake Farm Centre is home to mentally disabled individuals. It was founded by a group of parents 50 years ago. The centre enables its residents to learn simple life skills and lead normal lives. The goal of the centre is to prevent these individuals from ending up in overcrowded government institutions.
The Centre currently has 43 staff members, with 37 residing at the centre, ensuring the 24-hour support and care the centre requires. The Centre provides ten separate workgroups generating employment and the opportunity for residents to make a valuable contribution to the running and upkeep of the centre.
Suzette was clicking through YouTube one evening when she came across a video of a woman using plastic packets to make sleeping mats for the homeless. She was so inspired by the concept she started collecting plastic packets to test the project.
She saw a great need for them in her area. Every day when collecting her son from work, she saw several homeless people who would benefit from the mats.
“My colleague gave me lots of plastic bags and I made my first mat in January. I made 23 mats and started handing the mats out in July. We also make pillows out of the handles and the other plastics that I can’t use for the sleeping mats.
The homeless were very excited when they received the mats and the pillows. I’m still making the mats because there is still lots of homeless who needs the mats to sleep on. The community donated lots of plastic bags at the Lake Farm Centre.
We have homes to stay in and beds to sleep in but the homeless have nothing to sleep on. God gave me the message to make these mats and I’m just carrying the message out by making these mats. I can just thank God for using me to help those who don’t have.”
Two of the residents have been helping Suzette with her mats. Jacorine, a resident at the centre even came up with a name for the balls of plastic. She calls them “plarn”.
Jacorine cuts the bags into long strips and winds them up for Suzette to use easily. Adrian, another resident, cuts up all the plastic handles and unusable bits which are used for pillows.
Suzette hopes to see this project grow and is encouraging the Port Elizabeth community to get involved. She hopes to collect even more plastic bags and get a few extra helping hands in making the mats.
Suzette is an inspiration, tackling two hot-topic issues in one swoop, finding a use for plastic packets and serving the homeless with a helpful solution to sleeping on the streets.