Bed-mats offer comfort to the less fortunate




Volunteers Gillian Arnold (who visits from England each year and includes the mat-making in her schedule), Pastor Kenneth Craig, Pat Bellefeuille and Ellen Waye display the completed mats that will be distributed to those in need. (Tammy Schneider photo)

By Tammy Schneider

The efforts of a dozen volunteers at Kincardine Baptist Church are having an impact both near and far from home, thanks to the creation and distribution of bed-mats.


The third Tuesday of every month, from 9:30 – 11 a.m., volunteers gather in the church basement to prepare milk and other plastic materials for weaving into the durable and washable mats. After the 2018 Kincardine Reunion, a call was put out for residents to drop off the colourful bunting for use in constructing the mats, so many of them now display the brilliant blue and green shades of the reunion weekend.


Back in 2014, people participating in a mission trip to Haiti realized the mats could benefit individuals of all ages in that country. A member of the congregation came up with the idea of creating the mats and distributing them to those who needed them most. Because of the cost of shipping the mats abroad, about 10 of the 100 created every year are sent along with the mission, and the rest are distributed in Ontario in urban centres, wherever they are needed.


The mats provide comfort for individuals who may have no other choice than to sleep on the ground. Craig explains that because of their solid construction, they have also been used on the roof of housing to stop leaks. They are easy to clean and are comfortable. When asked what having a mat meant to the recipient, he tells this story: “The mission team built a house in Haiti about six years ago. On our last trip 18 months ago, we visited the family again. Their very ill grandma was receiving palliative care from family. She was near death and sleeping on a milk bag mat.” In spite of their limited resources, family was able to provide some comfort to a dying member of their family.


Those interested in volunteering do not need to be members of the Kincardine Baptist Church. Anyone with a desire to lend a hand and participate is more than welcome to join the group and make a difference beyond the Kincardine community.