TEMPLE, Texas — Heat contributes to roughly 1,500 deaths annually in the U.S., half of them involving the homeless.
In Temple, a group of women have bonded together to help bring relief to those sleeping on Central Texas streets.
Gatesville Mad Makers take old grocery bags, which typically would land in U.S. landfills, and make mats to protect the homeless from soaring temperatures on concrete.
"They don’t get dirty you just hang them up rinse them off, they do not attract bed bugs or fleas or lice ... they help by providing a layer between the ground and the person," said Li'sa Mekler, a volunteer within the organization.
The mats are like a convenient comforter that can go a long way in the summer, but also help keep the homeless warm during the winter.
It's surely making its impact, one Temple resident experiencing homelessness said "They're very strong too." Another individual said it helps with his back injuries.
The mats serve those purposes all while protecting the environment. One mat is said to be made out of 600 plastic bags.
Worldwide, a trillion plastic bags are used each year, nearly 2 million each minute, according to the Earth Policy Institute.
The women will continue to pass the mats out to protect the environment and those experiencing homelessness.
They're welcoming volunteers interested in joining the organization by calling Li'sa Mekler at 254-931-7725.