Father, son create sleeping bag for homeless out of grocery sacks, trash bags

Dec 20, 2022, 10:08 PM | Updated: 10:26 pm

SOUTH JORDAN, Utah — A South Jordan man and his teenage son believe they have a solution that could help people forced to spend the nights out in the cold to stay warm.

Merrick Maxfield said the idea came to him in the middle of the night a few weeks ago.

“I was awoken at 1:30 in the morning with a flash of how to take recycled grocery bags to create sleeping bags for the homeless,” Maxfield said.

Maxfield feels like the idea was inspired.

He reached out to his 14-year-old son, Ammon, who had a science fair coming up at his school. The two thought it was the perfect idea.

“We had the concept, and we started to experiment which way would work better, and eventually, we had a whole sleeping bag,” Ammon Maxfield said.

They started with a prototype with a water bottle and a smaller version that they put in the freezer to see how fast the water would freeze. They say it took two and a half days for the water to freeze, and it stayed at body temperature for six hours in the freezer.

From there, they got to work collecting disposable grocery sacks and garbage bags.

They say each make-shift sleeping bags takes roughly 700 grocery sacks and two garbage sacks. They say the tied grocery sacks create pockets of insulation and the garbage bags keep it waterproof.

Ammon didn’t come in first place at his eighth grade science fair, at least not with the judges. But he did win the “People’s Choice” award, and his classmates screamed and cheered when the announcement was made that his project won.

They said this DIY sleeping bag could literally save lives, and they don’t want money, they just want to inform people how to make them so the word can spread.

Ammon said the science fair was great, but helping people create viable, cost-effective solutions is far more important.

“I would just like to see those in need this winter season to have a warm place to sleep.”

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