Parishioners sewing reusable bags for members of their three-parish community are (left to right) Fran Coenen, Betty Glaser, Sharon Monahan, Josie Johnson, Milly Thissen, Polly Leinwander, Mag Rasmussen and Mary Brand. Not pictured are Luanne Gasparek and Sally Dahlby. (Submitted photo)

Parishioners of cluster parishes in Minong, Gordon and Solon Springs are working together to reduce, reuse and recycle.

Fr. Jim Kinney, pastor of St. Anthony, St. Mary and St. Pius X, asked the ladies of the Council of Catholic Women and Men to join in the effort to reduce the use of plastic shopping bags.

Members of the parish jumped into action and began sewing reusable shopping bags. A variety of materials were used, with an emphasis on recycling (for example, bird and farm feed sacks, tablecloths, curtains and draperies purchased from local thrift stores and Goodwill).

The goal is to provide complimentary reusable bags to the Tri-Parish community. To date, close to 140 bags have been made and are available at all three churches, with plans to continue sewing so snow birds and summer residents receive a reusable shopping bag when they return.

The CCWM group is also beginning a partnership with the youth of the parish to support their interest in reducing, recycling and reusing plastic.

The pattern used is available at

The average lifespan of a reusable bag is equal to the use of more than 700 disposable plastic bags, organizers said.