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Spreading Kindness to those Experiencing Homelessness During A Crisis

As the Coronavirus pandemic is spreading its impact all across Canada, HOPE worldwide Canada is also spreading acts of kindness, especially to the needy and most vulnerable.

The Toronto Central, East and West chapters had a special Easter outreach at St Stephens Community House, located in downtown Toronto, and Dixon Hall located at Danforth Avenue. Between them, they served over 400 people experiencing homelessness daily.

We handed over 55 handmade mats, 200 special hygiene products, 100 single use medical gloves and 100 pairs of outdoor socks.

The idea was to distribute items that were needed the most by homeless persons and also tie it to Easter as a special show of love and offer them a ray of hope.

Milk bag mats offer people without beds, an invaluable, durable and washable alternative to sleeping on the often cold and damp ground. They have also been used by health-care professionals as a make-ready substitute for an operating bed/table where resources are scarce.

The mattress mats are made of recycled milk bags. Each mattress is made of approximately 420 milk bags, with a lifespan of approximately 25 years. They are also waterproof, bug-proof and can be easily cleaned and dried. The initiative was originally championed by Angela Kesthely and her Milk Bags Unlimited organization.

The making of the mats is truly a labor of love. The mats are made by cleaning and flattening the milk bags, cutting them into strips, looping them into a chain formation and then weaving them onto a loom. Each handmade mat can take as much as four hours or more to complete.

One teenager Tyannah Brown, made three mats from her home.

The mats for this initiative were made in 6 households in Durham and also sourced from another milk mat weaver in the GTA. Looms and milk bags were dropped off at the various locations to ensure social distancing.

Barb Panter, Manager, Housing and Drop-in and Homelessness Services and Francine Freeman, Director of Development for Community Services at St. Stephen's Community House, were deeply appreciative of the Easter show of love by Hope worldwide Canada.

The next outreach and distribution of essential items for the poor is being planned at Good Shepherd.

If you are in downtown Toronto, Mississauga, Oshawa, Ajax or Pickering and would like to volunteer with one of our chapters, please send an email to

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