Bedrolls donated

Published 10:43 pm Thursday, October 25, 2018

Sarah Catlett and her community were able to provide 75 crocheted bedrolls for the Coalition Against Poverty in Suffolk in just five months. Catlett and the community members that helped presented them at Lake Prince Woods Monday evening.

“It’s overwhelming. I prayed it would be successful,” Catlett said. “You never know God is going to open the door until He opens it.”

Catlett, a guidance counselor at King’s Fork Middle School, found “Operation Bedroll: Conserve, Crochet, Care” one Sunday at her church with her friend Betty Michael, and since then she has been working to collect plastic bags to construct the bedrolls.

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“I saw this project on Facebook and saw a woman doing this and I thought, ‘That’s it,’ but I don’t crochet,” Michael said. “I went to church and immediately told Sarah.”

It can take anywhere between 500 to 700 plastic bags to construct a 2.5-by-6-foot sleeping mat. The bags also construct a carrying strap and straps to tie the mat up.

Catlett’s original goal was to create 100 bedrolls, and doing so was an extreme undertaking. Naturally, she went into her community to find help, and she found more help than she ever imagined.

Out of the 75 bedrolls made, 50 of them were made by Lake Prince Woods residents. They also helped to cut the plastic bags and make the “plarn,” or plastic bag yarn, to help create the crocheted mats.

Three 13-year-old Girls Scouts from Troop 357, Jerkiyan Savage, Elizabeth Ford and Layla Phillips found the project and decided to use the project to receive their Silver Award.

The Silver Award is the second highest award they can receive in the Girl Scouts, and it gives them a chance to use their three keys to leadership — discover, connect and take action.

“These girls used Operation Bedroll for their Silver Award, and they learned a lot as they helped Lake Prince Woods over the summer,” Catlett said. “They also helped out with Forest Glen Middle School to hold a workshop to get students involved. I can’t thank them enough for the love shown for this project.”

The bedrolls provided by Catlett and the community were passed on to CAPS so they can be distributed to those experiencing hard times and homelessness.

“We are so happy because of not only the quantity in a short period of time but also how engaged the community was with a local project,” said CAPS Director Majdah Schiavi. “It’s going to meet an immediate need.”

Catlett has no plans of stopping the project, and she is determined to meet the 100-bedroll goal she initially set out to accomplish. Both she and Michael have continued to go into the community to share the project and get people engaged.

Those interested in donating bags or donating time to the cause can contact Catlett at More information on the initiative can be found at, and tutorials for the process can be found on YouTube by searching “Operation Bed Roll.”