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Local volunteers creating bags, mats for homeless through milk bag donations

Updated: Jan 16

Kathy Leeman shows one of the bags and a mat created from milk bags. She and a group of volunteers she works with are looking for donations of milk bags so they can create the bags and mats for homeless people in the area.

A local woman and a team of volunteers are turning milk bags into bags and mats to help the homeless.

Kathy Leeman started converting milk bags into bags and mats for the homeless when she lived in Kingsville. Now that her family has moved to Amherstburg, Leeman has continued finding a new use for the milk bags.

“As a senior, I was looking for something to do,” said Leeman.

The bags are cut, folded and tied into loops that are linked together until a mat or a bag is completed. Approximately 1,000 milk bags are required to create a mat while about 200-250 milk bags are needed to make a bag.

Leeman said during the Christmas season, bags were donated to those in need and they were filled with toiletries and other items they may have needed.

The Kingsville group took care of those in need in the eastern side of Essex County, Leeman added, including to a Leamington-based organization called “The Bridge,” that assists youth and young adults between the ages of 14-24. When she moved to Amherstburg, she wanted to ensure people in this part of the county were also taken care of. There are no specific charities or individuals they work with on a full-time basis, with Leeman adding she and her team will work with any organization or person that contacts them.

Leeman stated she is the “Amherstburg liaison” for the Kingsville group.

Street Help is one organization that has reached out, and Leeman stated they have partnered with them to help people in need.

“We concentrate on Amherstburg as much as we can,” said Leeman. “If I have extra, they stay within Essex County. It could reach out into Windsor.”

Donations of yarn are also being sought, with the yarn converted into blankets and washcloths for those who need it.

Help comes from the Fort Malden Golden Age Club, of which Leeman is a member.

Seniors volunteer their time to help create the bags and mats, with those seniors with knowledge in sewing and crocheting being ones to help actually create the items.

The Fort Malden Golden Age Club is now based out of 179 Victoria St. S., and donations of milk bags and yarn are now being accepted at that building. Donations are also being accepted at the Amherstburg Community Hub at 320 Richmond St., the Libro Centre and local schools including Amherstburg Public School, Anderdon Public School and Stella Maris Catholic Elementary School.

There are environmental benefits as well, she indicated, and the repurposing of the milk bags was how it was presented to schools. By donating them, the bags are kept out of the landfill and are reused for other needs.

For more information or if someone is willing to volunteer to help out, contact Leeman at 519-726-9058 or e-mail

By Ron Giofu

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