By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
Plarners, volunteers who hand-crochet plastic yarn, or “plarn,” made from plastic shopping bags into sleeping mats for marginalized people, recently donated 223 mats to a Ukrainian refugee relief agency.
Plarners, which formed five years ago, has created and donated more than 2,060 plarn mats during that time, said volunteer Rita Carioti of Southgate.
“Most of the work can be done at home,” she said. “It is not difficult to participate.”
The group’s Facebook page, “We are Plarners,” lists current meeting times and locations, where bags are transformed into plarn and techniques are taught.
Carioti said Plarners initially contacted St. Josephat Ukrainian Catholic Church, which directed the group to the Ukrainian American Crisis Response Committee of Michigan.
“Speaking to the coordinators of these organizations, and hearing their stories, made this mission so very worth the effort,” she said. “It’s difficult to hear the helplessness and not feel that you must do something for these people who had to flee for their lives with only a suitcase packed with necessities.”
Carioti said she is proud of the volunteers for not only making plenty of mats, but for collecting medical supplies and socks to donate, as well.
“Our mission for ‘March Madness’ will be headed to Ukraine,” she said. “Communities helping countries is such a beautiful thing.”