An angel among us

Front row (left to right) Karen, Lucille, Sue and Lisa. Back Row (left to right) Mary Jo, Shirlee and Nan

Front row (left to right) Karen, Lucille, Sue and Lisa. Back Row (left to right) Mary Jo, Shirlee and Nan

There are many good and wonderful things going on in the world, but we don’t often hear about them. Thanks to all the volunteers; you make the world a better place!

This article is a tribute to a special lady who is admired and respected by her peers for her dedication to her work as a volunteer. Her name is Nancy “Nan” Desmarais. In 2011, she read an article in The Catholic Sun about “transforming trash into treasures for the homeless.” Nan was intrigued and went to downtown Phoenix where a premade mat was available to view. After she grasped the concept of the project, Nan was ready to gather volunteers to start mat classes in the fall of 2011. Every Thursday for the last six years, Nan continues to oversee the project she founded. There are two groups of volunteers working on this project. The first group fold the plastic bags, cut them into strips, knot the strips together and then roll them into a ball. These plastic balls are given to the second group who crochet mats for the homeless to sleep on. A single mat takes over 800 plastic bags, thus transforming landfill trash into useful treasures. Over the years, this original project has been expanded to now include crocheted tote bags, wallets, water bottle holders and Christmas items. Some of these items have been sold at craft fairs, and the proceeds go to The Society of St. Vincent de Paul. The mats and tote bags are donated to the homeless.

Nan, we thank you for being the person you are. The appreciation that you extend to us and your kindness, caring, patience and always with a smile, along with your concern for the homeless and others, is admirable. As you can see, not all angels are in heaven; there are many angels here on earth!

Become a volunteer and experience the joy of giving! If you are interested in joining Nan’s “Merry Mat Makers,” we meet every Thursday. For more information, call St. Stevens Catholic Church at 480-895-9266.