Volunteers for Haiti

Nearly five years ago, St. Andrew’s Anglican Church in Harrow started an outreach to help the orphans in Haiti.

The devastating earthquake leveled all buildings. We started making sleeping mats for children who were left without homes and forced to sleep outdoors.

We chose to make mats using milk bags because we were told that these children were sleeping on rocky grounds where spiders would attack them, leaving scabs on their arms and legs. The mats were placed on wooden pallets raising them up from the rocks and preventing any bugs from getting to them. Since the mats are made of plastic, it is impossible for the bugs to crawl up

We gradually started making pillows, small mats and even school bags. We have grown from six or seven people to 37. So far, we have transferred the outer milk bags into 498 large sleeping mats, 68 pillows, 119 sitting mats and 118 school bags which are either crocheted or woven from our eight weaving looms.

We helped St. Stephen’s and Church of the Redeemer in Oldcastle by providing them with a cutting board and instructions on how to make a loom. Now they are also making and sending these mats. We recently had a school teacher from Windsor bring some of her students who want to start their own group.

We are grateful for all the Anglican churches in Windsor that are collecting and sending milk bags to us through Edna and Jim Lee of St. Mark’s Anglican Church. One of the groups that collect bags, from All Saints, Windsor led by Mr. Art Roth, visited us to see the group in action.

We meet at St. Andrew’s Anglican Church in Harrow every Tuesday morning between 10 and noon, with our rector Rev. Jon Forbes joining us whenever he can.

We have kept thousands of plastic bags from the landfill, as it takes approximately 600 milk bags to make one mat. We also use broken plastic loops to rill the crocheted pillows.

Kathy Harnadek
Volunteers for Haiti, St. Andrew’s Anglican Church, Harrow