Abilene woman using plastic bags to crochet mats for homeless veterans


ABILENE, Texas - An Abilene Walmart employee is using recycled plastic bags to crochet mats for homeless veterans.

Sharon Schrader has gone through nearly 700 plastic bags over the last four months crocheting a mat.

This project was first brought to her attention a few months ago during her church's crochet club. Some of the members were crocheting with plastic bags.

"I decided if everybody else is doing this, I guess I can try one," Schrader said on Sunday.

"And that's the one I've done," she said pointing to her finished mat, which is 3 feet by 6 feet.

Schrader belongs to the Pioneer Drive Baptist Church. She said members got the idea to make plastic mats from the VFW Post 6873.

Last October the post held an event called "Stand Down" that helped homeless veterans. A family at the time donated two plastic mats. Schrader's church group has already completed 10.

But, she never expected the attention she'd receive when her manager at Walmart shared this photo on Friday via the store's Facebook page. She works part-time at the Walmart Supercenter located on Southwest Drive.

"When they took that picture, I had no idea what they were going to do with it," Schrader said.

"It takes hours to crochet one of these mats," her husband Ronald said.

She crochets while they watch television, and Ronald supports his wife's hobby.

"Why would I change her? I liked her enough to marry her," he said

Sharon Schrader said her church group will donate all the plastic mats to this year's "Stand Down" event, which is scheduled for October.

"The homeless can put them down on the ground, and then, they can lay on that so they're not on the dirt," Schrader said.

Ronald said his family has always been involved in the community. He believes this is the least his family can do for people who have served our country.

"I don't think this country does enough for veterans," he said.

His wife said she hopes to give the left over plastic mats to Love and Care Ministries. In the meantime, she's working on her second mat.