Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

Shirley Crouser shows a soft mat made from colorful plastic grocery bags which will bring warmth to a homeless person.

Parkersburg Member Uses Grocery Bags for Ministry

As an adult, I was looking for something different as part of my religious experience,” Shirley Crouser says. “I wanted something that would satisfy.” One day she saw an advertisement for a seminar to be held at a nearby Holiday Inn. As she attended the evangelistic meetings, Crouser decided to join the Parkersburg (W.Va.) church. Three years later, her husband, William, joined, too.

As a member, Crouser longed to do some type of outreach to help others, but she was hesitant for fear she wouldn’t do it right.

In 2017 while watching a TV newscast, a story caught her attention. It was about a senior citizen center in Charleston, W.Va., whose members were making mats from plastic grocery bags and giving them to the homeless. “I can do that,” thought Crouser. Searching online, she found the instructions.

Using bags donated from a local grocery store and Parkersburg church members, Crouser makes mats that are 36” x 66” long, and a half-inch thick. It takes about 700 bags to complete one mat.

“I’ve given out one mat so far to a gentleman who lives in his truck. It makes me feel good to help someone who needs help. God gave me the time, talent and ability to do this ministry,” Crouser concludes.

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