Streetsboro United Methodist Church Partners with University to Benefit Community

On February 21, Jackie Searfoss, a representative of the Streetsboro United Methodist Church (SUMC), visited Kent State University to introduce the Honors College community to an initiative that SUMC is very passionate about. At the event, which was organized by Honors College special assistant Lori Michael, Searfoss showed Honors College students and staff how to create sleeping mats for the homeless using only scissors and plastic grocery bags. Honors College students and staff gathered to help cut the bags into strips, make balls of “plarn” from the strips, and crocheted the plastic strips into sleeping mats. Once complete, 700 grocery bags make a sleeping mat that is roughly six feet long and three feet wide. The mats are all uniquely different with speckled or striped colorful designs.

While working, the students visited with friends, Honors College staff, and heard more about SUMC’s mission. The mats are waterproof, environmentally friendly, and very useful to the less fortunate guests that homeless shelters serve. As of now, this project has donated mats to several organizations in the area, including: Center of Hope in Ravenna, Community of Support Services in Akron, and the Nehemiah Mission in Cleveland. With their 3rd Annual KSU Alumni Day of Service event fast approaching on April 18, SUMC hopes to grow the participation at these events in order to help increase the total number of mats donated to local organizations.

After the event was complete, mat making materials were left for members of the Honors College community to continue the project. Before Searfoss left, she stated “I appreciate all of you doing this, thank you very much.”

If you would like to get involved with SUMC and their mat making project, they will be hosting their 3rd Annual Kent State University Alumni Day of Service on Saturday, April 18, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Lunch will be provided. During this event, volunteers will be creating the sleeping mats; SUMC encourages volunteers to bring all of their extra plastic shopping bags and a pair of scissors, or extra-large crochet hooks if able to crochet. The event will take place at the Streetsboro United Methodist Church, located at 8940 State Route 43 in Streetsboro. Please register in advance for the event at, selected ‘Ohio Sites’, then ‘Portage County’, and then ‘Mat Making for the Homeless’ event. If you have questions, please contact the Kent State University Alumni Association at 1-888-320-KENT or



Photo Caption:
Kent State University Honors College students and staff pose with Jackie Searfoss, (far left in photo) SUMC member, during their mat making event on February 21, 2020.


Media Contact:
Stephanie Moskal,, 330-672-2312

POSTED: Wednesday, March 11, 2020 - 3:25pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, March 11, 2020 - 4:36pm
Honors College Intern, Rylee Crowley