Turning plastic bags into beds for the homeless

CHICAGO -- This week's 4-Star-Chicagoan, New Life for Old Bags (NLOB), is an organization that uses plastic bags to create sleeping mats for the homeless. Board President Chrissy Batorski stopped by Windy City LIVE to talk about the organization.

New Life for Old Bags is a collaboration of volunteers of all ages and abilities making sleeping mats for the homeless out of used plastic bags. Volunteers sort bags and fold them to create "plarn" (plastic yarn) and weave them into sleeping mats. No crocheting experience is necessary. Between 500 to 700 bags are used to make a mattress, and they stay drier than cardboard in wet weather when the homeless slept outside.

Ruth Werstler Fishter founded this organization in February of 2012 when she was working as residence life director at retirement center. She wanted to find a project where the senior community can give back to the community in some way. Residents named New Life for Old Bags and liked the play on words since they were all elderly. From there, it grew started as a weekly volunteer activity. There are eight campuses around the city that make mats for the homeless, and now there are sites in Chicago, Ohio, Las Vegas and Atlanta.

For more information visit unitedinfaith.org/newlifeforoldbags.