Every week, for the past six weeks, Mployees at M. Holland’s Corporate Office in Northbrook, IL have met in the cafeteria during lunch with a shared purpose in mind. Together, they flatten plastic bags, cut them into strips, and tie those strips into loops to form plastic yarn, also known as plarn. Ultimately, this plarn is crocheted into mats to be donated to the homeless. It’s all part of M. Holland Community’s latest charitable initiative to combat poverty and homelessness in the Chicagoland area.
“Plarning is something I look forward to now,” says Beki Preuser, accounting associate and M. Holland Community plarning committee leader. “It’s a relaxing activity that brings every department together. We’re upcycling plastics, socializing and creating something that will give homeless people some comfort.”
M. Holland Community – M. Holland’s volunteer and charitable group – plans to create at least ten, 3×6 crocheted mats to donate to The Night Ministry, a Chicago-based organization that offers free meals, health resources and shelter to those struggling with poverty or homelessness.
Ten mats may not seem like a lot; however, it takes over 500 bags and nearly 12 hours to crochet just one sleeping mat. These mats will then serve as a waterproof layer of protection, insulating each recipient from the ground.
“The time and energy put into these mats are priceless,” says Katie Cibulka. “We are providing better sleep and a little happiness to someone in need, and helping our environment at the same time.”
Plarning is a great way to make use of excess plastic shopping bags. Waste Management reports only one percent of all plastic bags are recycled each year and an estimated 100 billion plastic bags are used by Americans. By the end of the plarning initiative, M. Holland will have upcycled at least 5,000 plastic bags.
Volunteers of M. Holland Community already have three mats in the works and look forward to future plarning sessions.
“Plarning is a great opportunity to get to know everyone in the office,” says Monica Toledo, IT Contractor. “I love how M. Holland Community is standing up for a great cause and helping our community.”
About M. Holland Community:
M. Holland Community is an internal initiative at M. Holland Company that provides a framework for Mployees to volunteer their time and talents to affect positive change through various initiatives and partnerships. This year, M. Holland Community has adopted a focus on homelessness/poverty. Recent M. Holland Community initiatives include partnering with Maryville Academy and the Almost Home Foundation on our holiday giving trees for both families and animals in need, and collecting hats and gloves for the homeless that were donated to Margaret’s Village.