Milk bag mats for Haiti

February 9, 2010 at 11:10 pm 73 comments

February 9, 2010.

Our regional recycling program has a mission—to allow no more plastics in the landfill site. That’s a tall order, considering that so much of what we buy comes wrapped in plastic, like bread and milk. I try to cut back, including the use of the plastic wrap to store food in the refrigerator, so I’ve bought containers with resealable lids.  Sigh. Many of them are plastic too, but at least they last a long time.

Here’s an interesting fact that I learned yesterday— it takes 15 years for the plastic milk bags to break down in a landfill site.  Some creative person has come up with a better use for those bags, one that considers its long life and washable qualities and that does some good for people.

A friend of mine said that she collects milk bags for a special project. She cuts the bag into strips, connects those loops, then crochets the lengths of plastic like yarn to make the mats.  I dropped off some bags last week that I’d been collecting for her. I don’t remember where they go, only that they are useful to people in Third World countries.

This week a fellow writer from The Word Guild sent a message to our listserv yesterday that she’s collecting the bags too, and asked if fellow members would save them for her. She is involved in a mission that makes mats for people in Haiti.

A mission to keep plastic out of landfill sites connects with another mission.

Northwest Haiti Christian Mission Canada has been helping Canada recycle while providing sanitary and comfortable sleeping mats for Haitians.

People in Haiti must travel great distances for medical attention. Having those mats means that patients have a sanitary mat to rest on while they wait, and insects that would normally nest in the natural palm leaves do not like the plastic.

These mats have travelled far into the mountains of Haiti with those who have received healing for their bodies at the Mission.

These mats may also be of use in the earthquake district of Port-au-Prince. I wonder if anyone has thought of that. Granted the people there need much more than mats. They need shelter, food, water, and hope for a better future. Read more about the mats4Haiti here .

Perhaps you’ll be the next one collecting bags or making the mats.


Entry filed under: Missions. Tags: .

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73 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Carol E. Weber  |  March 25, 2010 at 9:27 pm


    I’m e-mailing to find out more about making milk bag mats for Haiti. I am widowed and retired and I would either like to join a group that is already working on this project or I would be willing to start a group to make the beds.

    I live in Kitchener, Ontario and I worked in Haiti in the 60’s so I would enjoy working on a project specifically for Haiti. I would have to learn how to make them but would be willing to try.

    Please let me know where I could get in touch with someone in my city who may be already working on this project or would like to join a group.

    Thanks in advance.

    Carol E. Weber

    • 2. storygal  |  March 25, 2010 at 11:37 pm

      Hi Carol,

      I have a friend who makes them. Whether she’s part of a group or does them on her own, I don’t remember. I will ask her, then let you know, okay?

    • 3. Karen  |  August 24, 2010 at 7:26 pm

      This message is for Carol or anyone who can connect me with the right person. I live in Kitchener and am looking for someone who is collecting milk bags to make mats locally. If anyone knows of a group of individual in this area, please let me know. Thanks.

      • 4. storygal  |  August 28, 2010 at 1:00 pm

        Hi Karen

        My friend who once made the mats for Haiti is no longer doing this. Perhaps you can gather others who’d like to make mats.

      • 5. shelly hockin  |  December 6, 2010 at 7:43 pm

        I would love to make these mats – just need some bags – I am in Pickering Ontario and would gladly pick some up to start

      • 6. storygal  |  December 7, 2010 at 1:56 am

        Hi Shelly
        You’re welcome to connect with people who responded to my blog, or leave your contact info for others to respond to you. Check my earlier post to find out how to make them.

      • 7. shelly hockin  |  December 12, 2010 at 5:54 pm

        I would love to get my hands on some milk bags – I live in pickering ontario – email me at – I would gladly come pick them up

      • 8. storygal  |  December 12, 2010 at 6:15 pm

        Hi Shelly,

        This is the sort of response welcome on my blog, that one can help another with a request.

      • 9. Les Dickson  |  January 17, 2011 at 3:05 am

        Hi Shelley:

        I am an elementary teacher at Fairport Beach in Pickering, and our eco committee is interested in becoming involved in the milk bag mat scenario. My mother has been involved and suggests we teach the kids in the group how to cut the bags, and then forward them to someone such as yourself to do the crocheting. My mother is planning to come to our school in the coming weeks with a sample mat she has crocheted to show the group what the final product might look like. We’d be glad to collect and cut the bags for you, and would welcome a visit if you can make it.

        Thank you in advance

        Les Dickson
        Grade 6/7 Teacher
        Fairport Beach P.S.
        Pickering, ON

      • 10. storygal  |  August 20, 2011 at 1:54 am

        Hello Karen,

        There are several groups in the area, if not in Kitchener Waterloo. If you check back to an earlier post, back in the winter, about the looms and making of the mats, there’s a list of groups and contact information. I haven’t had any updates lately.

        Anyone involved in such a group is also welcome to contact you through my blog. Best wishes.

    • 11. nancy  |  March 20, 2012 at 1:34 am

      Hello We do the mats in Peterborough. I know last summer a teacher from Kitchener Lori McKenna was getting her students involved. If somehow you can find her, she might be able to supply you with milk bags etc. You can go on utube and find out how to make the mats.

      this is the Haiti mission that we work with.

      • 12. storygal  |  March 20, 2012 at 9:42 pm

        Hello Nancy,

        Thanks for stopping by. Search through the blog and find Lori’s contact information. I will soon give an update.

      • 13. storygal  |  September 6, 2012 at 12:55 am

        I had hoped to do an update, but there has been no new information coming to me.

  • 14. storygal  |  April 5, 2010 at 8:17 pm

    Did you manage to open the link, Nell?

  • 15. Valery  |  April 8, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    I live in Richmond Hill. I started a milk bag project at
    our church about one year ago. I have more bags than we will ever use and wonder if anyone is interested in getting them. I prefer to give them away then throw them away. I estimate that I have about 2000 bags at the moment. Please let me know if you’re interested.

    • 16. storygal  |  April 8, 2010 at 7:26 pm

      Hi Valery,

      There’s a person on my writers’ association group who is collecting milk bags for the same project. Let me look up her email this evening and connect the two of you.

    • 17. storygal  |  April 9, 2010 at 2:07 pm

      Brenda Wood, a fellow writer, will take the milk bags. I have given her your email address.

      • 18. Mhel  |  March 27, 2013 at 7:55 pm

        Just wondering where I can drop off the milk bags I have collected. I live in Mississauga

      • 19. storygal  |  March 27, 2013 at 8:19 pm


        check with Nithya ( of Mississauga. She asked back in January about getting a group started. You might also ask Violet & Christian Ropp ( (519) 595-4001) for some direction on how to build a loom to weave the mats and the directions for doing it.
        My blog is a sharing place for information. Feel free to look through the comments and contacts someone who can help. Best wishes.

    • 20. Dave T  |  February 20, 2011 at 2:06 am

      have they been gotten rid of yet? Our church near Palgrave has been doing this for over a year now, and it is growing hugely.

  • 21. spiritfilledcanada  |  April 17, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    Our church has decided to collect the milk bags and hopefully some of our women will decide to learn how to crochet the beds.
    Aren’t connections wonderful?

    • 22. storygal  |  April 17, 2010 at 3:36 pm

      Hi Jan,

      I’ve had quite a few emails over that post and just this week connected a fellow writer with someone who has milk bags to spare. Great way to connect. 🙂

  • 23. Brandy  |  May 29, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    My daughter is 12 years old and her and her school and our family have been collecting milk bags I would like to know which church is accepting them. Please let me know I would be very grateful thank you.

    • 24. storygal  |  May 29, 2010 at 4:06 pm

      Hi Brandy,

      It was a fellow writer, Jan, who said her church was collecting them. Her email address is:

    • 25. Jan  |  May 29, 2010 at 4:56 pm

      We live in Haliburton Ontario. Our church is collecting and possibly making the bags. Where do you live?

  • 26. Sheena Kennedy  |  June 4, 2010 at 12:39 am

    We are looking for an organization who would be interested in receiving completed mats hopefully to go to Hati. We are a Women’s Institute group in Wellington On. and have 3-4 mats completed.

    • 27. storygal  |  June 4, 2010 at 12:44 am

      Hi Sheena,

      Go to the site Mats4Haiti in my earlier post on milk bags for Haiti. See if there’s a contact name or number on the site. There’s also a church making them. Jan at spiritfilledcanada is involved with that project.
      Best wishes.

    • 28. Erin  |  October 9, 2010 at 12:49 am

      Try contacting either Chandra Kelly at (905) 486-9879 (Mississauga area) or Joan at the Canadian Food for Children Association (905) 274-9239 (Toronto area) about completed mats.

      • 29. storygal  |  October 9, 2010 at 1:51 am

        Thanks Erin. That will be very helpful to Vasanthy. Good to know that for anyone else who inquires.

      • 30. storygal  |  October 9, 2010 at 1:51 am

        Thanks Erin. That will be very helpful to Vasanthy. Good to know that for anyone else who inquires.

  • 31. Heidi  |  September 13, 2010 at 11:32 am

    Hello Storyfal
    My school has been collecting milk bags for Haiti since last year.
    I live in Kitchener and work in Elora.
    Could I please have your friend’s email to contact her about donating our milkbags? Thank you

    • 32. storygal  |  September 13, 2010 at 12:33 pm

      Hello Heidi,
      Here’s the email for my friend who’s collecting them:

      • 33. Heidi  |  September 15, 2010 at 2:41 pm

        Thanks a lot!

      • 34. storygal  |  September 15, 2010 at 8:22 pm

        You’re welcome, Heidi. That must be some pile of milkbags after collecting them for so long.

  • 35. VASANTHY VIJAY  |  October 8, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    Hi there,
    I have collected lots of milk bags, just wondering if anyone still take them. I live in Mississauga, around creditview and Brittania. Please let me know.

    • 36. storygal  |  October 8, 2010 at 2:11 pm

      Hi Vasanthy,

      This is a popular project. You can reply to Brenda, Karen or Jan; they’ve been collecting bags to make mats. Hope you connect. Thanks for your comment.

  • 37. Beverly  |  October 15, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    Where in Kitchener can you go to find out how to make the mats or who would accept bags? I have saved 75-100

    • 38. storygal  |  October 15, 2010 at 2:34 pm

      Hi Beverly,

      I don’t know of a group in Kitchener. Perhaps you would consider starting one. Carol from Kitchener sent a message soon after I posted this blog. If you respond to her message, her email is there. Mats4Haiti link is somewhere in these posts. She was interested in making the mats and was looking for a group. Perhaps you’ll post the outcome so I can send others to you.

    • 39. underthecoverofprayer  |  October 15, 2010 at 2:37 pm

      I can connect you with someone if you send me your email.

  • 40. Angie Roberge  |  November 3, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    Hi there,
    I’m trying to start a Milk Bag Mat group at my Church in Ajax, ON, I’ve just come across this blog and I’m looking for start up information. Right now I’m participating in a website called, I’ve been able to get some bags from my church and start a mat; I’m enjoying it and have now learned to do some crochet. Any info you can give me would be great! I’m going to make a facebook page as well, seems like people need more places to communicate as there seems to be a lot of interest.

    • 41. storygal  |  November 3, 2010 at 2:43 pm

      Hello Angie,
      Thanks for stopping by. Unfortunately I don’t have expertise in that department, but a few others in this comments file may be able to help you. Jan might refer you to someone since her church makes them. Best wishes on getting that information. Perhaps you’ll come back and post how it’s going.

      I’ve just learned that a group in Kitchener is making mats, but I don’t have that contact information yet.

  • 42. underthecoverofprayer  |  November 3, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    HI Angie,
    I have information for you. Please contact me at

  • 43. Maryann  |  December 11, 2010 at 10:37 pm

    I have been collecting milk bags and would like to give them to someone to use for mats. I live in the north Toronto area. Do you know someone who wants them?

    • 44. storygal  |  December 11, 2010 at 11:37 pm

      Hello Maryann,

      I am awaiting a list of groups who make the mats. Perhaps Angie in Ajax would take them. You can reply to her message in my responses.

      Otherwise, if you check back in a week or so, perhaps someone will answer your request. If you find a place or group that is producing them, please post it in a reply to my blog. It may help others.

      That’s the best I can do at this moment. I hope it’s helpful.

  • 45. dream  |  December 17, 2010 at 12:43 am

    Hi my name is Dream and i live in Kitchener Ontario. I have been collecting bags for Haiti for the past couple weeks but cant find anyone in my area collecting. If anyone would like them feel free to email me.


    • 46. storygal  |  December 17, 2010 at 1:16 am

      Hello Dream,

      I’m awaiting a response from someone in the area who facilitates groups. She would likely take them off your hands for you. Thanks for leaving your contact info so someone can reach you. Thanks.

      • 47. elizabeth Lewis  |  February 15, 2011 at 8:25 am

        does anyone have any extra milk bag to spare. I would like to make these mats as well

      • 48. storygal  |  February 15, 2011 at 12:45 pm

        Hello Elizabeth.
        Thanks for posting your question. If you can post your city or town, readers will know at a glance if they can help you.

    • 49. Lori  |  September 24, 2011 at 1:53 am

      I would like to use these bags to cut and plarn but have no one to send them to for crocheting. Do you have any information about anyone who does this in Kitchener/Waterloo?

      • 50. storygal  |  September 24, 2011 at 11:35 am

        Hello Lori,
        I see you’ve found two people already. If you check back to my January 10, 2011 post, on making mats and using looms for cutting, there’s a list of groups that crochet and send the mats. Violet will likely know who’s still working on this project. They’re outside of K-W but not far. Calling or emailing directly is another option.

  • 51. 2010 in review « Storygal’s Blog  |  January 3, 2011 at 1:36 am

    […] Milk bag mats for Haiti February 2010 37 comments 3 […]

  • 52. Susan Cross  |  November 9, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    HI THERE!!
    I am from Brantford, ON. Our church has been collecting Milk bags to donate for the mats. We just received word yesterday that the group we were saving them for, is no longer collecting them. Is anyone or does anyone know of anyone wanting milk bags. I can be emailed @

    • 53. storygal  |  November 9, 2011 at 5:26 pm

      Hello Susan,

      Feel free to contact anyone whose messages indicate they take milk bags for the project. Hope you can locate someone. Check with Violet in earlier message.

  • 54. shelly hockin  |  November 24, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    I have crocheted 27 mats which are ready to go and need an address to take them to – I live in Pickering Ontario – so somewhere close would be great – pls email me at

  • 55. storygal  |  November 25, 2011 at 1:17 am

    That’s great, Shelly. I hope someone who checks this blog about the mats can answer you. Feel free to look back in my blog to January of this year for others who are making or collecting them.

  • 56. storygal  |  November 25, 2011 at 1:19 am

    Sorry, Shelly, my blog pieces began in February. Scroll through and find Violet Ropp.

  • 57. Amber Keetch  |  January 21, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    I have many milk bags I would like to send to someone who can make the mats. Please send me an address. 🙂 My email is
    thank you

  • 61. Beverley Norton  |  September 5, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    September 5,2012 Hi my name is Beverley, I live in Guelph and would like to get started collecting plastic milk bags, how do I get started? And also would like to organize a group of folks interested. please help.

    • 62. storygal  |  September 5, 2012 at 11:09 pm

      Hello Beverley,

      I offer my blog as a place to connect people who wish to collect bags or make mats. If you go to this post on my blog, you can locate several groups:

      A couple from New Hamburg are no longer involved.

      Alternately, contact these people.
      Violet & Christian Ropp (519) 595-4001

      This is the best I can offer at this time. I hope it will meet your need.

      Thanks for stopping by and inquiring.

      • 63. Nancy Bailey  |  September 6, 2012 at 12:23 am

        Hello Beverley

        If you would like to call me, perhaps I can help you get started. There are a few groups in Guelph. The mats are no longer going to Haiti because the government will not allow them in. We are now dealing with Dr. Simone in Mississauga and he is sending the mats all over the world to wherever they are needed. My number is 705-741-2599 and I live in Peterborough. Just a note Guelph is my home town.


      • 64. storygal  |  September 6, 2012 at 12:54 am

        Thanks, Nancy, for answering Beverley’s query. I didn’t know that the mats aren’t going to Haiti anymore, but it’s good to know if others can make use of them. Was any reason given?

      • 65. Nithya Ravi  |  January 17, 2013 at 7:31 pm

        Hi Nancy,
        I live in Mississauga and we are a group who are greatly interested in this project. Ihave been collecting of late and would like to know who collects the milk bags in Mississauga and also if someone can demonstrate how they are done. I have seen the demonstration in You tube but would be nice to have a direct face to demonstration. I’d be gretaly intersted in any way and can involve a few of my friends too in this noble endeavour. Please email me at I can also bne reached at 905 507 2714. In the meanwhile I’ll also contact Chandra Kelly mentioned in one of the blogs re: the same.

        Thanks for your kind help.

      • 66. storygal  |  January 18, 2013 at 12:32 pm

        I hope that Nancy responds to your message. The originator of this project has not responded in a great length of time. Also check with The Gleaners in Cambridge, Ontario, for more information.

  • 67. Lyndon  |  March 29, 2013 at 9:48 am

    Exceptional stuff – Bookmarked, facebook liked, and a google plus 1 for
    ya! I don’t think the googleplus 1 went through some type of error. But at least I tried, right? That’s what counts.
    Keep putting out articles like this and your web site will
    be towards the top quickly!

    • 68. storygal  |  March 29, 2013 at 11:16 am

      Thank you, Lyndon. I appreciate your efforts regarding my blog.

  • 69. Judy Russell  |  August 4, 2013 at 12:11 am

    Can someone tell me where I can take collected milk bags in Pickering?

    • 70. storygal  |  August 4, 2013 at 1:14 am

      Hello Judy,
      Thanks for stopping by. Feel free to look through the comments on this blog post and connect with someone who needs them. Are you mainly collecting them for others’ use? You might check with Violet & Christian Ropp ( (519) 595-4001) is they know of any new groups in Ontario where you are.

      Also feel free to post a new comment on this post for any group who might want them. There may be more than I know of.

      • 71. Judy Russell  |  August 4, 2013 at 11:52 am

        Yes, I am collecting them for others’ use…..the place I previously took my collected bags to stopped taking them

  • 72. Lindsey  |  August 7, 2014 at 9:43 pm

    Hello, I have just learned about milk bag mats and in my search to find a group in my area (Brantford, ON) I came across this blog. Since many of the comments are older (2 years+) I was wondering if anyone has updated information about groups close to my area who make the mats. I would love to join them and help make the mats. Any information would be helpful.


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