Milk Bag Mats continue

May 23, 2014 at 2:32 am 2 comments


When I was quite new to blogging, I read of the project Mats4Haiti by the  Northwest Haiti Christian Mission Canada, and that people in Canada were working with the mission group. It impressed me that people could use the milk bags that we give little thought to for making something useful, especially for those people in Haiti who had gone through  the earthquake in 2010 where many lost their homes.  The mats are a way of  diverting plastic from our landfill sites and garbage and putting them to positive use—a mat to sleep on for those whose other alternative is sleeping on the hard ground.

Soon after the post where I shared that information, Jan Cox, fellow writer and blogger, connected me with Chris and Violet Ropp who were involved in a group that made the mats. I learned quite a lot about the project and talked with Violet then offered my blog as a place to share information for those who are involved in either collecting bags or the making of mats. There were months that I heard from no-one organizing the projects, but people were coming to my blog looking for milk bags or someone with the know-how to make them.

Then more recently, I received a message about the mission President and Executive Director:

It is with deepest regret that we announce the passing of mission President Rev. Beverly E. Leslie on March 1, 2014 at the conclusion of a long illness.

Then news of his wife’s death as well, the Reverend Tina Leslie. The organization is in transition and the Interim Executive Geoffrey Robinson requested,

Until that time Northwest Haiti Christian Mission, Canada has temporarily stopped accepting new donations.

The date of that announcement is not posted on the site, but it appears that the project is continuing on.  A few days ago Violet passed along a lengthy email. I have Anne’s permission to quote from it.

Hi Everyone,
Time for an update on the milk bag mat making project. There is so much going on and I wonder where to start.
First, I would like to say thank you for all your support. We are a big team and getting bigger all the time. I have over 180 people who will receive this email, but just think of the numbers of people who will get the message from their team leader… actually a few thousand people and then add the kids in the schools. The children are amazing and they are weaving like busy beavers loving the fact that they are making mats and helping people without the comforts they have here in Canada.
Since weaving is so much easier and faster than crocheting my goal was to send a 1000 mats around the world this year… well, if it keeps up at the rate we are going we will surpass our goal (even though I know summer is coming and we slow down a bit). So far this year we have sent about 450 mats, and there are at least 30 in my garage, and more coming this week from groups doing the work. What thrills  me is the giving and outpouring of generosity from so many people.
We all want to help, and this is our way of helping with no cost involved, just volunteer hours.
 To learn how to make the mats, see the video here. For more information, contact Angela Kesthely (, Anne Downey ( or
See the video of Angela working people to produce the mats from CityNews Toronto.
Initially the project began by people crocheting the mats, and some still do. Weaving is another way to make them.



weaving                                                                                                                                           From Milk Bags Unlimited, weaving mats

Please feel free to pass along the information on this post to others who may be interested. Also search on my blog for earlier posts on Milk Bag Mats and Mats4 Haiti and

Loom Rollers and Groups Making Mats for Haiti (2011)



Entry filed under: church, community. Tags: , , , , , , , .

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Liz  |  August 25, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    Our church was collecting the milk bags, then we lost our contact person who took delivery of them. I live in Guelph, ON. Is there a drop off place for these bags on Guelph?

    • 2. storygal  |  August 27, 2014 at 1:27 am

      Hello Liz, I cannot answer your question with any certainty, but I remember the Gleaners in Cambridge accept the mats already made. I don’t know whether they collect the bags for anyone. Try contacting Violet Ropp. She may know. Violet & Christian Ropp (519) 595-4001.

      If anyone else reading this message can help Liz, I urge you to connect with her. My blog is intended to link people interested in this worthwhile project, but I don’t have additional information on all the groups involved.


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