A group of volunteers is crocheting plastic bags into sleeping mats to give Winnipeg’s homeless a little extra comfort this winter.

“It’s breaking my heart that people are being left behind and hustled along and treated as if they don’t matter -- and they do,” volunteer Kyna Daun told CTV Winnipeg.

The volunteers use ‘plarn’ -- essentially plastic shopping bags that are sliced up, strung together and wound into balls -- to crochet the mats. It takes 500 plastic bags to make each sleeping mat and they are lightweight, easy to wash and provide cushiony protection from hard, cold floors. An added plus: when the army of volunteers finally packs up, the space they are working in will be converted into an overnight shelter.

"We’ll be crocheting these for the space,” Tessa Blakie of community organization 1JustCity said. “But also for our folks who we know sleep outside no matter what.”

Last December, a 53-year-old woman was found dead outside a Winnipeg mall. It is believed the cold played a role in her death.

Blakie said the woman’s death was a catalyst for the crocheting project and volunteers hope to make at least two dozen mats.

With a report from CTV Winnipeg’s Beth Macdonell