Alumna Helps Create ‘Bundles of Warmth’

When this alumna noticed tons of waste, she devised a plan to make that excess help the homeless.

Shawna Wainright | Photo by Ron Dubick

Shawna Wainright, who earned a master’s in Marketing Management from Wilmington University in 2014, estimates that over the years she has donated nearly 4,000 hours to various charities. In one of her latest efforts, she led a group of senior citizens in a project to make winter just a bit less harsh for the homeless.

Wainright works part-time at a ladies boutique in Greenville, Del., and she was struck by the hundreds of plastic bags that went into the store’s trash each week.

“I thought there must be a way to reuse and recycle the bags, as well as used plastic grocery bags,” she says.

So she Googled “uses for plastic bags” and was excited to discover that the bags could be crocheted into plastic mats for the homeless. Next, she contacted the Mid-County Senior Center near her home in Pike Creek, Del., and organized a group of seniors who worked through most of last summer to create 25 water-resistant sleeping mats that keep the homeless from lying directly on cold concrete sidewalks. Wainright says each 6-feet-by-4-feet mat required 500 bags.

She then worked with The Ministry of Caring in Wilmington, where the mats were combined with socks and handmade scarves to make “bundles of warmth” that were delivered to the inner-city homeless. WU