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Weaving Together for Others

February 9, 2022

A joint project between Lutheran Senior Services (LSS) communities Meridian Village and Dunn Road Manor is providing a little comfort to people experiencing need. Residents from Meridian Village, located in Glen Carbon, Illinois, visited Dunn Road Manor, an LSS Affordable Housing community in Florissant, Missouri, to teach their craft group how to crochet plastic mats from plastic shopping bags for people experiencing homelessness.

These mats will be donated to groups who work with people experiencing homelessness throughout the greater St. Louis area: Supportive Services for Veterans with Chestnut Health Systems in Belleville, Illinois; All Among Us in Ferguson, Missouri; and Churches on the Street in St. Louis and Madison County, Illinois. The mats are soft, can be washed off and dry rather quickly.

“We took plastic bags, scissors, crochet hooks and other items we needed to do this project,” explained Jeannie Artimisi, lifestyle enrichment coordinator at Meridian Village. “We got to Dunn Road Manor and the ladies started showing them how to make ‘plarn’ — plastic yarn — from plastic bags and we worked together. We had a great time!”

At Meridian Village, they’ve been crocheting, assembling and donating these mats for several years and were excited to share the project with another LSS community. Charlotte Gougeon, a resident at Meridian Village, has been involved in this project since it started and has lost track of the multitude of  mats they’ve made and donated.

“When we started this project here, one of the ladies asked me how long we are going to make mats,” said Gougeon. “And I said, ‘How long is forever?’”

There is a process for making these mats, so a lot of hands are needed. When the group gets together at Meridian Village, several people prepare the plastic bags and wind up the plarn, several crochet the mats and another attaches handles to the mats so they can be carried like a backpack.

“Projects like this are very fulfilling and they show kindness, love, caring — all represent part of LSS’ Christian Mission of Older Adults Living Life to the Fullest,” said Artimisi. “LSS residents are just wonderful. They really care about helping others.”

The latest donation consisted of 25 mats and an assortment of personal products the residents collected for the shelters.

“It’s important to me because I like to give back to the community,” added Gougeon, who is involved in a number of activities both through Meridian Village and her church. “This a good thing to do; it helps with two issues — ecology and homelessness.”

These aren’t the only communities doing good. Check out these other altruistic projects from LSS communities:

  • Residents at Concordia Village, an LSS Life Plan Community located in Springfield, Illinois, crocheted more than 120 infant hats for the HSHS St. John’s Hospital newborn intensive care unit.
  • In Richmond Heights, Missouri, residents of the LSS assisted living community Richmond Terrace made bracelets for a local hospital to include in infant bereavement gifts.
  • Residents at Heisinger Bluffs, an LSS Life Plan Community in Jefferson City, Missouri, sewed pillows for children at the Special Learning Center, which provides comprehensive, early intervention services for children with developmental delays and disabilities.
  • Independent Living residents at Mason Pointe, an LSS Life Plan Community in Town and Country, Missouri, made clothing protectors and walker bags for their fellow residents in assisted living and long-term care.

These projects not only help LSS residents to live their lives to the fullest, but by giving back, LSS residents are also helping others do the same.

Lutheran Senior Services (LSS) is a mission-driven, not-for-profit network that specializes in housing, care and supportive services for older adults 62+. With 19 locations in Missouri and Illinois, LSS supports more than 13,000 seniors a year through options that include senior living communities offering all levels of living, affordable housing for those with limited incomes and home- & community-based services. LSS builds upon more than 160 years of excellence in living out its Christian Mission of Older Adults Living Life to the Fullest.

Lutheran Senior Services is a member of Lutheran Services in America, a national network of 300 Lutheran health and human services organizations that works with one in 50 people in America each year.

Learn more about Lutheran Senior Services.