Seniors Give Time and Talent to the Homeless

Have you ever watched anyone knit or crochet?

How about a group of 30 ladies who call themselves the Happy Hookers and Bag Ladies?

This fun-loving, energetic group of crocheters — all residents and community members at CC Young Senior Living — has been giving back to the community for more than three years by crocheting sleeping mats for the homeless. Even better, the mats are made 100% out of plastic grocery bags.

Every Monday, the self-named Happy Hookers (“crochet” comes from the French word for “hook”) gather to work magic with their needles. Six hundred grocery sack bags are cut, flattened, folded, and crocheted together just as one would a scarf or blanket.

Happy Hookers and Bag Ladies crocheting away

The result is a thick-stitched, colorful crocheted sleep mat about the size of a sleeping bag. This alchemistic art takes about 50 hours to create.

No experience is required to join the group; there’s something for everyone to do:  Gather supplies, cut and prep the bags, and make “plarn” (balls out of the bags), in addition to the actual crocheting. All you need to participate is a loving heart and helpful hands.

The group believes they’re helping the homeless as well as the environment. So many of us tend to throw away plastic grocery sacks, creating an environmental nightmare.

“This is such a good way to keep 600 bags out of the landfill – while helping others at the same time,” Marilyn Hamilton, 78, said.

The Happy Hookers have donated more than 160 mats to charities including The Salvation Army, The Bridge of Homeless Recovery Center, and several others. The group has also paid it talents forward by teaching women at Austin Street and students from Woodrow Wilson High school how to make the mats.

The group was “on pause” during the worst of Covid-19, but resident Hookers are hookin’ again.  In February, 20 more mats were donated and delivered to the Oak Lawn United Methodist Church’s Warming Shelter — just in time for the big freeze and winter blast.

CC Young is celebrating its Centennial Anniversary this year! For more about this East Dallas organization, check out

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