Hope Mills sleeping mat program in need of volunteers

HOPE MILLS, N.C. (WTVD) -- A Hope Mills based program that uses plastic bags to create sleeping supplies for the homeless community in Cumberland County is searching for more volunteers.

The program, based out of the Hope Mills Parks and Recreation Department, was created back in Sept. 2016. In that time, volunteers have created over 300 sleeping mats that have been donated to organizations like Fayetteville Urban Ministry.

Volunteers spend Monday, Wednesday and Friday, between noon and 4 p.m., creating mats, pillows, and blankets completely made out of plastic bags.

The program collects bags from local businesses, cutting and preparing them to be weaved, knitted, or even crocheted.

A method that was initially shocking to Bill Cain, who has spent the last three months volunteering.

"Couldn't believe it until I got involved with it myself," Cain said.

Cain brags that he's only missed volunteering one day due to sickness.

Debbie Sproul, a longtime volunteer, has seen the program grow and knows its impact.

"These people really going through a hard time and how much it means to them," Sproul said.

Parks and Rec officials said they have reached capacity for plastic bags; it's now about trying to attract more volunteers to meet the demand.

Sproul and Cain say creating these items can be tedious and time-consuming. They say adding some extra hands could make a difference.

"I go home at night and, you know, I'm tired but it's a good tired," Cain said.

Hope Mills officials encourage those interested in volunteering to call the parks and rec department or go to the front desk during regular business hours.
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