Woman recognized for helping those in need

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - Jessica Gonzales had no idea what her bank colleague really cooked up at the King's Charter Clubhouse in Hanover County. But she came bearing goods and was thrilled to show off her latest creation - the project that's consumed much of her spare time over the past year since her mom taught her to crochet

"It's not much," said Gonzales. "They're plastic bags but it might mean a lot to someone who needs it. I feel like I'm helping the environment by taking something people throw away.

Jessica says she's addicted and finds therapy weaving bags bound for the trash into what might be a treasure if your home is on the streets.

"It makes a comfortable little mat for them to sleep on," she said. "If it get's wet, it dries quick."

The woven plastic makes a nice cushion. This one's a work in progress, each full sized mat takes a mountain of bags so Jess asked her co-workers to replenish her supply.

"You might think we have tons of them it takes 700 to 900 to make a mat," said friend Sylvia Hutt. "The crocheting itself take 40 to 60 hours for each mat."

But the prep work can be labor intensive.

"You cut the bags into three inch wide strips, then you link the strips together, then you roll those links into balls of plastic yarn then you do the crocheting," said Hutt.

Jessica and her mom give their mats to a local church to distribute.

"People are excited about it, I've taught a couple people how to do it," said Gonzales.

Thanks to co-workers Jess is stocked with bags.

Sylvia asked us to help recognize her colleague's compassion.

Gonzales said she may donate the money to a local charity.

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