In communities around the world, people live without many of the things most of us consider basic necessities: clean water, warmth, and a comfortable place to sleep.
Huntsville High School’s learning skills classes are helping to provide the latter by creating mattresses from an unlikely source—milk bags. The mattresses will be sent to communities in El Salvador.
Teresa Patterson, learning skills teacher and project coordinator at HHS, got the idea from her mother who makes milk bag mattresses at her church to send to Central America.
In order to create a mattress the milk bags, which have been donated to the school, are cut in half and then the bags are woven together on a loom. Each mattress requires around 400 milk bags, and is large enough to sleep an adult and child.
“Many of my students are hands-on learners so this project has been really great for them,” said Patterson.
Once students have completed their class work for the day, they are able to work on the project in the last few minutes of class.
“It’s really important for students to understand we live in such a privileged place,” said Patterson. “In class we learn about poverty and developing countries in books but having a tangible project like this really brings it home. Once a mat is completed the students know that it’s going to a community that experiences poverty every day.”
In addition to filling a need in a developing country, diverting the milk bags from landfills and recycling facilities results in less waste.
After the classes have completed several mattresses they will be sent to Dr. Andrew Simone in Mississauga who distributes them in El Salvador. Dr. Simone is the founder of Canadian Food for Children, a GTA-based charity that brings food and other supplies to developing communities in Central America.
The HHS project began just a few weeks ago, but the classes plan to make the mattresses a long-term project.
If you would like to donate milk bags to the project, contact Teresa Patterson at [email protected]
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