Category Archives: sleeping mats for the homeless

Here Is What I Live For

Due to distance, and how busy I am all the time, I often do not get to personally hand my mats out to the homeless. What happens is other people come get my mats and hand them out to the homeless at an event or something and send me back the pictures and videos.

Below is a video that was taken at a homeless event in Goshen, Indiana. This is what I live for. This is why we do what we do. Help the homeless. What we do is NOT a solution, its an INTERVENTION.

Meet Larry Eicher

Larry Eicher is a 79 year old man and friend of mine who lives in my neighborhood. A little over a year ago, Larry came to me and asked me to teach him to weave mats. I taught him and he learned. Below are some pictures of the mats he has made.

The First Tents Go Out

I got a call on December 4. 2 Veterans were in Defiance, Ohio sleeping in the woods. I was asked if I could do anything to help. I gave them 2 mat, pillow and tent sets. While what we do here at The Mat Weavers Ministry is NOT a solution, it is an INTERVENTION. I’m very happy that I am able to do this.

Below is Mike Knox, he works for the Veterans Administration in Defiance, Ohio. He came and picked up the sets.

I’m a small, ministry still in its beginning stages. There is no way I can keep up with all the demand for my mats. Perhaps as I get looms made and weavers trained, I will be able to do more, but for now all I can do is try to help 1 person at a time.

My Loom

This is my loom. It is 6 foot wide by 3 feet long. This is where I work my magic.

My partner and friend Pastor Greg Coleman used to be an architect before he became a Pastor. He designed and built it for me.

I have the plans to build more looms and I have a retired gentleman who wants to build them for me. They will be distributed FREE of charge to anyone who wants to learn to weave.

The requirements are as follows:

  1. Collect and cut 1,500 bags
  2. Weave 1 mat and pillow a week
  3. Sign an agreement accepting our terms and agreeing to do this.
  4. If you will not weave 1 mat and pillow a week, then you will agree to return the loom.
  5. I will come to your house and train you for FREE as long as you are local. Otherwise there will be video tutorials on this blog.

Due to the cost and labor it takes to build these looms, these rules are in place so that we do not waste money, time and labor.

I Got My 501c3 Non Profit Status

One of the things I wanted to do was become a 501C3 non profit ministry.  Well, I am happy to announce that as of June 12, 2019, that dream became a reality!

And on top of that, I ended up getting a check for $500 as my first donation.  God is so good to me.

Meet Cathy

And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. – Genesis 2:18

God sends you help when you need it.  For years, I’ve done this ministry pretty much with my dear friend and mentor, Pastor Gregory S. Coleman of the West Unity United Methodist Church.

Meet Cathy Ayers.  I met Cathy about 9 months ago.  She is an adorable, sweet, intelligent woman with a heart of gold.  We started dating, we pray together, read our bibles together, attend church together, workout together, and then she seen my mats.

She wanted to learn, so I taught her.  Today, she helps me collect and cut bags, she helps me separate them by color, and she weaves! I am blessed to no end to have her in my life and I am eternally grateful to God for such a blessing.  To me, Cathy is the marrying kind.

Below are some pics.

How I Collect Bags To Weave With

It takes 1,500 bags to weave just 1 single mat and another 300 bags to weave one pillow.

So how do I get so many bags?  Well I went to some of the churches in my community and asked them to save them for me.  Plus, I used my Facebook account to let people in my community know I need bags and they often save them for me and even drop them off to my house!

Each week, Solid Rock, Living Hope, The First Presbyterian Church and The West Unity United Methodist Church right here in West Unity, Ohio along with Lakeview United Bretheren Church in Camden, Michigan and The First Presbyterian Church in Bryan, Ohio save bags for me.

Then on top of that, my friends, neighbors and the people in my community save their bags for me and often drop them off right at my house.

People genuinely want to help me with weaving mats.  They do what they can and I appreciate them so much.  I often tell people “I’m Just The Weaver” because without the bags coming from all these places and my community, I would have no bags to weave mats with.  That being said, I often tell the homeless that I weave mats for and they came from ALL of us.

West Unity, Ohio is a community that cares and I am very proud to live here.

Stringing Up My Loom For My Next Mat

I just finished stringing up the loom for my next mat.  I try to weave a mat (1,500 bags) and a pillow (300 bags) every week.  So far, Ive been able to keep up that pace.  There is no way I can keep up with the demand for my mats.  The demand is so great.  All I can do is help 1 homeless person at a time.  Atleast Im trying to make a difference. It sure beats sitting around doing nothing!

It takes approximately 427 bags just to string up the loom.  And another 900 bags to weave the mat.  This keeps me quite busy.

This is a perfectly strung up loom.

The Mat Weavers Pillow

I wasn’t content just weaving mats.  So, I figured out a way to weave pillows too.  Each pillow is 18″ x 18″ and very soft and thick.  Here is one I just completed a few hours ago.

Pillows make this ministry a win/win for everybody as it allows me to upcycle 100% of the plastic bag, leaving no waste.  This keeps all the bags I get out of our lakes and landfills.

Unfortunately, I often have more bags than I can use.  It is my intention to eventually recruit and teach other people how to weave mats and pillows and I’ll simply supply them with bags.

My Latest Mat

This is the mat I just completed.  I usually average a mat a week. Thats because I have to sort bags by color, then flatten each bag one at a time and then cut them and join them together to get them ready to weave.  On top of that, I have a life…lol. 

Just because a mat is finished on the loom, doesnt mean it is completely finished, it still has to be taken off the loom and tied off in a special way so the mat doesnt come apart.

When finished and properly tied off, my mats are 1″ thick providing a good cushion for a homeless persons comfort.