June 20, 2014
Mats for Homeless 500px
From left, BI-LO associate Brian Cannon, customer and Corinth Baptist Church member Danielle Stilwell and BI-LO associate Kelly Rae Elkins.​

Corinth Baptist Church in Vale, N.C. has found an innovative use for everyday BI-LO plastic grocery bags. Instead of simple bag re-use or disposal, they use the bags to provide a crucial benefit to people in dire need.

The congregation combines 700 bags and dedicates 100 hours of work to produce one single mat. The mats are donated to homeless groups from Morganton to Hickory, N.C.

BI-LO Store No. 5437 in Morganton, N.C. contributed a large majority of the bags that the church congregation has been using. No parts of the bags are wasted in the process of making a mat.

Church volunteer Danielle Stilwell recently brought a finished mat into the store to show associates what BI-LO’s bags are helping to accomplish.

“We’re glad that Corinth Baptist has found a way to recycle our bags in a way that benefits the community,” said Richie Suttles, assistant store director at store No. 5437. “Every person deserves a clean place to rest, and these mats are a big step towards that.”

Communications via social media has sparked interest in these mats in other states. Organizers of homeless groups in Virginia have asked about getting some mats so that they also can provide for community members in need.

The mats will also make their way to Cambodia, when church members will bring some along on an upcoming mission visit.

“It’s exciting that there’s going to be a piece of BI-LO all the way on the other side of the world,” Suttles said.

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