Jenifer Kosman has a heart for the homeless.
One of the reasons for this is her very personal connection to the plight of folks who don’t have a place to call home.
Kosman’s dad was once homeless.
“For me, homeless people, it’s kind of a big deal,” said the Brookswood resident and mom of three. “My dad became homeless 10 years ago now, and I’ve always been the kind of person who’s caring and helpful.”
With her dad and others in his situation in mind, Kosman uses plastic bags as material to create sleeping mats for the homeless.
She began making the mats in her spare time in late October, complementing the efforts of the ‘Giving Back BAGS TO BEDzzz’ volunteers who drop off these plastic sleeping mats at homeless shelters.
Kosman collects grocery bags from friends, the retirement centre in White Rock where her mom works, and members of the Brookswood Facebook Page.
Over the past few months, Kosmasn has woven nearly 20 mats, and she’s in the process of making a handful more that are in various stages of completion.
Depending on their size and shape, it takes anywhere between 500 and 700 plastic bags to make one sleeping mat.
Every two weeks, Kosman will spend about $500 on an average grocery shop, so she uses all of those bags, as well.
Kosman creates the blankets by hooking the bags around spools and weaving them together.
Just before Christmas, Kosman dropped off roughly a dozen sleeping mats at the Gateway of Hope shelter on the Langley Bypass.
She could always use more plastic bags to continue her work. To donate or learn more about Kosman’s efforts, join the Brookswood Facebook Group and use that digital avenue to contact her.
“I have a wonderful group of people who constantly drop off (bags) for me,” Kosman said. “I tell them, anytime you drive past, just throw them over the fence. I’m out there grabbing them all the time.”
The charitable venture could come to a halt if Langley follows Victoria’s lead and institutes a ban on plastic bags. In B.C.’s capital city, businesses will be restricted from charging for or providing free plastic bags, except in specific situations. Retailers must first ask customers if they need a bag, and then charge 15 cents for a paper bag, or $1 for a reusable bag.
The bylaw will be put into effect in July 2018.
If Langley follows suit with a plastic bag ban Kosman is prepared.
“I kind of have another plan in place to continue helping, but I’m not going to reveal what that is, yet, because I don’t know if it’ll work.”