A Labor of Love

A project started by Lake Barrington Woods residents in 2016 is growing! Last year, residents at Lake Barrington Woods began creating woven sleeping mats made from plastic grocery bags, a community activity aimed at helping the homeless. With the aid of local organization Kids.Kare, they distributed sleeping mats and food to areas of downtown Chicago. The response was overwhelming, and with the donation of grocery bags from friends, employees, local businesses and families of Lake Barrington Woods residents across the country, residents at Lake Barrington Woods decided to continue the project as part of their Active Aging Week celebration. This year, the mats will be donated locally and will again be accompanied by lunch bags packed with nutritious food. Lake Barrington Woods residents plan to make the donations in person at local shelters.

Mirka Biegunska, Director of Residents Programs at Lake Barrington Woods, notes that she was brainstorming with residents about activities for this year’s Active Aging Week theme, “Ignite Your Passion” when the idea to continue the project took hold. “We were thinking of different ideas for this, like learning different painting techniques, learning how to make pizza, learning a new language or even learning about new technology. In the end, we all agreed, “A Labor of Love” is our passion passion and we would share this with you.” Active Aging Week promotes quality of life for seniors with purposeful, meaningful activities and events that showcase the positive elements of aging, a celebration Lake Barrington Woods observes yearly with a week of new experiences.

Mirka calls this project a Labor of Love with good reason: each mat takes about 50 hours and nearly 1000 shopping bags to complete, with residents sorting and cutting bags while others crochet the bags into clean, lightweight, portable sleeping mats. Different colored bags are highly sought after, says Mirka, as the weavers have started creating patterned mats. So far they’ve created 25 new mats for distribution and she says, “Residents say that once they’ve started, they just don’t want to stop! They love this project and the fact that it represents help for those in surrounding communities.” The community is working with shelters in the local area to arrange donations of mats and food, while some of the mats have already been distributed locally by residents. To see the Youtube video highlighting the production of the mats, as well as the first day of distribution, please click here: https://youtu.be/VXgrIe6Th2U.

Lake Barrington Woods residents are proud to be able to meet a very real need in their surrounding communities and hope to continue their Labor of Love project through winter, but that goal will require supplies. If you have clean plastic grocery bags that you’d like to donate to the cause, Lake Barrington Woods is happy to put them to good use. Donations to aid the #LBWLaborOfLove project may be dropped off at the front desk at the community. If you have questions about this project, or would like to visit Lake Barrington Woods, please call 847-842-8900 or visit our website at www.seniorlifestyle.com.

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