Louisiana man makes sleeping mats for the homeless out of plastic bags

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WDSU NEW ORLEANS —One man's trash is another man's treasure for one Luling man, who is re-purposing plastic bags in an effort to change the world.

Wayne Abadie has a thing for plastic bags.

"I have a feeling I'm going to be overwhelmed with bags," Abadie said.

It started with crocheting as a child.

"My mother use to crochet and she would try to teach me to crochet, and I could never get the hang of crocheting, he said. "I used to make little bracelets out of the plastic."

So he decided to bring his craft to church.

"My wife and I were talking one night and she was looking for a project to do for their Bible study service project and I said, 'I have an idea,'" Abadie said.

His bright idea: to crochet sleeping mats for the homeless using plastic bags from the grocery store. It all snowballed from there.

"I was talking to my neighbor and wife one day, and my wife mentioned that our bedroom has lots of plastic bags and that I'm always playing in it. My neighbor then said that she's been trying to do that for a while," Abadie said. "To me it was like a way of giving back that didn't take up a lot of time."

Abadie's plastic bag interest turned-hobby not only benefits the less fortunate, but it's also eco-friendly.

"I made about 15 mats and I donated them to the First Baptist Church on Canal Street," he said.

The church distributed the mats to the mission, and then things really stated to blow up.

"I got to read an article from the mission talking about how quickly the mats were distributing and how well they were received and I thought to myself, 'Well I can't stop now,'" he said.

In all, Abadie has made 19 mats.

"It's a very gratifying feeling knowing that the little bit of time that I take to do this could change someone's life, I'm not going to lie, that does affect me," said Abadie.

Abadie message is simple, "Doing a little something to change the world -- people think you have to build homes for the homeless or volunteer at a soup kitchen when you can actually just do a little something."

Abadie hopes to continue to spread his message of "repurposing for a higher purpose." This weekend is Change the World Day through the Methodist Church. He's asking the public to come out and make mats on Saturday at 4 p.m. at New Life Community Church, 134 Lakewood Drive in Luling.

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