Woman Irons Old Crisp Packets Together To Make Sleeping Bags For Homeless People
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Pen Huston said the idea to start came to her in the middle of the night after she'd been forced to turn away homeless people looking for anything to keep them warm.
The 45-year-old, who volunteers for Surviving the Streets, said the homeless charity had become so desperate for sleeping bags, she was forced to come up with more inventive methods to help.
The Hastings native said: "We help hundreds of people daily, but we don't get any funding, so we were running out of sleeping bags to give out.
"I wanted to make something which could keep people living on the streets dry for longer. I was lying awake one night and I thought it would be nice to get in a giant crisp packet to protect yourself from the wet and keep the warm in."
She continued: "All these sleeping bags will save lives. This was about making something out of nothing. We live in such a throwaway society, but not everything has to cost money. All the homeless people we work with are really happy with them, they're so grateful.
"They've been using them in different ways, sleeping in them at night and using them for storage in the day. But really it's horrific, really shocking that I'm having to do this - we live in one of the richest countries in the world and I'm sat making sleeping bags out of crisp packets."
Pen said it takes around 150 crisp packets and four hours to make one sleeping bag by fusing them to a recycled sheet of plastic with a hot iron, as the foil inside the crisp packet is perfect for insulation.
After making an appeal on Facebook for used, average sized crisp packets, she has been inundated with thousands of crisp packets from all over the country.
To date, a team of eight volunteers have created more than 10 sleeping bags and handed them out to ten rough sleepers in Hastings and the team plan to move onto nearby Eastbourne next.
Pen is now appealing to others to join her in getting creative to help the homeless and is now working on her next project - crisp packet tents and ponchos.
She added: "It's not feasible to stay in one long term but for a short period of time they could save your life, especially at this time of year.
"You need 150 crisp packets per bag and just fuse the feet together, like an envelope. Then I put air holes in them so condensation doesn't build up and they don't get damp.
"And the plastic is all recycled - the only thing it costs me is electricity for the iron. I want people to help people."
If you would like to learn more about charity Surviving the Streets click here.