The Roundup -

Sidney High School Students Participate In Bags With Purpose


March 17, 2021 | View PDF

Cheyenne Ryan, Curstine Gaffield, and Alexia Metz hold plastic bags that they have collected for the project. (Submitted photo)

Students at Sidney High School are making a positive difference in the lives of homeless individuals by participating in a service project called "Bags with a Purpose". 

The concept of this project is to utilize plastic bags to make 3' x 6' sleeping mats for the homeless. Students collect clean and hole less plastic bags, cut them into strips, and chain them together to form plarn. The completed mats are to be used as sleeping mats for the homeless. 

For the project, students collected an estimated 300-500 plastic bags. They used every piece of the plastic bags - they constructed plarn pillows and stuffed the handles and end trimmings inside for the filling.

"We did this to incorporate the zero-waste aspect," said Cheyenne Ryan, Sidney High School Family and Consumer Science student teacher.

The students will be delivering the mats or mailing the mats to St. Vincent De Paul, Billings, MT so that they can be distributed amongst the homeless. 

Madison Jasin with a completed mat. (Submitted photo)

Ryan implemented the "Bags with a Purpose" program at Sidney High School. She had completed this project as a high school student in her hometown and thought it would be a good idea to bring the project to Sidney. "At the time I did this project, the mats were sent to Haiti after a hurricane. I started this project in Sidney because I thought this would be a great experience for the students and me. It serves as a resume builder, service project experience, and gives more meaning to the lives involved. The three students involved were excited to find a no-cost project that would serve others," explained Ryan. 

Ryan hopes that the students see the need to lend a helping hand to those who may need it the most. She said, "Lending a helping hand isn't just donating money or objects; its creating things and donating time/effort. I also would like the students to see that if they are capable, they can achieve so much more."

She believes in the ideals around volunteering and service and strives to incorporate that into the classroom to provide a unique experience for all of the students. She added, "I would like to continue on this project or incorporate other textiles-related service projects in the future."


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