What do you picture when you hear the term “bag lady?” Probably not a group of grandmothers in a crocheting club! But “Bag Ladies” is what one group of women in Tennessee have dubbed themselves… And these ladies are on a mission!
The purpose of their mission is twofold: 1) To positively impact the environment by recycling plastic bags, reducing waste. And 2) To serve the homeless community, including those families who recently became homeless after the flooding in Louisiana. You see, this isn’t just any crochet club. The Bag Ladies don’t use yarn; instead, the quickly growing club uses recycled plastic bags. And they aren’t creating blankets or scarves, the Bag Ladies are creating mattresses for the homeless.
The Bag Ladies meet once a week at a Second Baptist Church in Union City, Tennessee. They cut plastic bags into strips, tie the strips together, and then crochet the strips into mattresses. It takes 600 to 700 plastic bags to make one 3 foot by 6 foot mat.
“This is not young ladies doing this,” says Janice Akin, a Bag Lady, “This is older ladies with arthritis. And believe me, I have it. It hurts.”
Even so, Janice says that the practice– and the feeling of fulfillment that comes with it– is addicting. And the word has gotten out! Their group has doubled in size since they first began meeting, and they women say that they enjoy spending time together and working to improve the lives of others.