DES MOINES, Iowa (KCAU) – It’s the season of giving and some homeless folks in Des Moines are getting the gift of mats and pillows from a community college.
“It’s nice to see that we can do this and use it for a good purpose instead of it just wasting away,” said Elizabeth Englebrecht, surgical technology student.
Piles of what is usually trash is now being stuffed, sewn, and sent to those who don’t have a home for the holidays.
“Just trying to keep them dry, their bodies dry, their heads dry, and get them a good night’s sleep,” said John Hadley, Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC).
DMACC Health and Public Service students are spending their Thanksgiving week turning the water repellent surgical wrappers into pillows and sleeping mats that can go underneath sleeping bags and pillows.
“I thought ‘Oh my gosh, with everything else going on, how are going to have the time!’ But then, I feel like you have to take a step back from your own perspective and put yourself in another person’s shoes and say ‘That’s going to benefit somebody else that doesn’t have as much as we do,'” said Englebrecht.
After months of stocking up from clinical sites around the metro, the transformed wrappers are ready to be distributed with help from local homeless organizations.
“We got wind of this and said yes we want to do this because it will be with the homeless. When they pick up and move, they can take it with them. Put it under their mattress or sleeping bags,” said Bykrmark Carver, Biker Mark Ministries founder.
Topped with a handmade card from both elementary students and DMACC childcare kids, the Surgical Technology Department believes these repurposed tools will not only help the homeless throughout these cold winter holidays but also, give them hope.
“We just think, thanksgiving coming up, all the food, well at least that’s what I think. But I know people who are homeless. They don’t have food so they don’t have that safety, so I hope this will make them feel safe,” said Englebrecht.
“I hope they feel like there are people in the community that care about them and want to help them out,” said Hadley.
The students have made more than 100 pillows and sleeping mats each.