New Life for Old Bags

New Life for Old Bags

Take a moment to read this article about New Life for Old Bags (NLOB), a group of volunteers who knits plastic bags into mats for homeless people living outside. Creating mats for homeless individuals has a positive impact on the environment by keeping plastic out of landfills and waterways. The mats are lightweight and dry easily and are a comfort to people living outside. Thank you, New Life For Old Bags!

New Life for Old Bags!!!

New Life for Old Bags Plastic Mats

In the last 3 years, 500,000 plastic grocery bags have been crocheted into mats for homeless people. These bags would have ended up in Chicago’s landfills and waterways. Instead, they are used to make a light-weight, quick-drying bed roll for our friend in need.

Each mat requires about 80 hours of crocheting time and most mats are made by senior citizen volunteers. Over 700 mats have been given to CCO for distribution and we are grateful for all the time and hard word volunteers have put in to make such a special item.

We are grateful to New Life for Old Bags for all their work on behalf of Chicago’s homeless! You make a difference! Click below to view their latest video clip…

New Life for Old Bags Video Clip

Green Festival Chicago 2012!

Green Festival Chicago was a huge success this year! We are grateful to New Life For Old Bags (NLOB) for including CCO staff in a panel discussion about the environment and community action.
NLOB founder Ruth Werstler discussed the process of making plastic mats for homeless people, particularly people sleeping outside. Plastic grocery bags are made into strips of “plarn” and crocheted into usable, lightweight mats. Ruth also shared how widespread the program has become. Children as young as second graders cut the bags into strips while senior citizens (some over 100) croquet the strips into mats.
Sandra Ramsey, Executive Director of CCO and Jeremy Nicholls, CCO case manager, also discussed the on-going needs for the mats and the plight of the homeless in Chicago. Muriwai Nicholls, Jeremy Nicholls daughter, also joined him on stage. She has gone out with her dad on numerous occasions to the Chicago lakefront to distribute the mats.
Also, speaking was Mary Moy who impressed on the audience the need to do more for the environment and people with less resources. And Scott Glumm shared some amazing statistics about homelessness and the effects of plastic on the environment. Mr. Glumm finished his speech with an inspiring story about doing small things to create a greater good. We will post it here, on our website, soon.
We are grateful to work along side an organization like New Life For Old Bags!

Join Us At The Green Fest Chicago!

Come to the Green Fest Chicago on Sunday, May 6 at 2pm to hear Sandra Ramsey, CCO Executive Director and Jeremy Nicholls, CCO case manager discuss homelessness. New Life for Old Bags will be displaying and discussing their crocheted mats (made from plastic bags) for the homeless. Hope to see you there!

For a full schedule of events go to


CCO Executive Director and Casemanager to Speak at Chicago Green Fest!

Representatives from New Life for Old Bags and Cornerstone Community Outreach will be speaking on May 6 at the Green Festival in Chicago.New Life for Old Bags (NLOB) is a collaboration of volunteers who transform used plastic bags into sleeping mats for the homeless. Over 700 grocery bags are needed for each mat. Instead of ending up in a landfill these bags are used as a light, sleeping mat for homeless people. Presenters will discuss the issue of homelessness, the effects of plastic bags on the environment, and the importance of collaboration with community organizations.
Sandra Ramsey, Executive Director of CCO and case manager, Jeremy Nicholls will be talking about homelessness and NLOB program to help Chicago’s most vulnerable. Follow the link, below to learn more about this exciting event!