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‘Operation Bed Roll’ helps the homeless in Greensboro

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GREENSBORO, N.C. — If not already, we are quickly approaching the time of year when there are chilly mornings and even colder nights – rough conditions for people without shelter.

“Being out here on the streets is not easy,” David Fields said.

Operation Bed Roll delivered the first set of 70 crocheted plastic bag yarn (plarn) sleeping mats to the Interactive Resource Center.

“They’ll get paired with blankets that we are already starting to collect in our warehouse and as we give out a blanket we’ll give out a bed roll to go with it so you’ll get both at the same time,” said Michelle Kennedy, executive director of the Interactive Resource Center.

Operation Bed Roll is an initiative through the City of Greensboro.

For months, volunteers across the area have worked using an estimated 35,000 plastic bags to create the 70 bed rolls that were delivered.

“Since March of this year, I’ve taught over 2,000 people how to do this,” said Tori Carle, recycling education specialist with the City of Greensboro.

“They’re just such a gift to the community we can’t say, ‘No,’ we’re a step away from homelessness, I think everyone is,” said Pat Levitin, who made two bed rolls for the project.

During a news conference at the IRC, John Dee Johnson was able to meet the woman who made his bed roll.

Johnson is currently sleeping on the floor at a friend’s house.

“I am so grateful. I don’t have that many clothes except for what I have on my back and a couple pair of pants,” Johnson said.

A total of 71 bed rolls were presented to the IRC. Seventy were transported from a city facility by Greensboro police. An additional bed was brought by a plarn group.

People can still participate in Operation Bed Roll.

Completed bed rolls can be dropped off at any city branch library until Dec. 31.

To learn how to create them, visit

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