SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Missouri State’s occupational therapy school is making sleeping mats for people experiencing homelessness.

Bags that are being weaved into sleeping mats and then provided to people who may want or need them through Hope Connection.

“We started this project thinking oh we would distribute these mats but we also found that many of the guests really enjoy learning how to make them and so we created kits and said here’s how you get started you can make your own,” MSU associate professor Ashlea Cardin said.

Cardin says making something on your own can provide a sense of empowerment.

“One gentleman who ended up being one of our most prolific weavers, he’s probably made 60 mats for us,” Cardin said. “He was actually homeless himself and he had said if I had had one of these whenever I was hitchhiking across the country, he goes I would have really appreciated having something like this.”

MSU student Haley Isbell says participating in an event like this allows students to grasp a better understanding of the community they live in.

“I think as students sometimes we want to help others but don’t necessarily know how nor have the resources to,” Isbell said. “I think events like this allow us to hopefully make a meaningful change with things that we can do in the stage of life that we’re in.”

Isbell says as an occupational therapy student she realizes the impact good sleep can have on a person.

“One of those things that we often take for granted, it’s those seemingly ordinary things that make the biggest difference,” Isbell said.

It’s been five years since Missouri State’s occupational therapy program first started this effort.

The event is Friday, Jan. 22, from 9am to 2pm at the O’Reilly Center for Hope. For more information contact Community Partnership of the Ozarks at 417-888-2020.