Woman To Watch: Betty Estep, “Bag Lady of Beech Island”


Beech Island, SC (WJBF)  – The streets for those who are homeless can be hard and cold to sleep on, yet that’s what so many have to do at night.

But one woman in Aiken County is already changing that, one grocery shopping bag at a time.

Meet 86 year old, Betty Estep, or as her most recent nickname, the Bag Lady of Beech Island.

“She’s a servant and she’s always looking to do something for somebody,” said Cynthia Rollins, Betty Estep’s Daughter.

That something has become crocheting sleeping mats for the homeless out of grocery bags.

“She has shipped them to the Salvation Army for homeless people, hurricane victims, just wherever there was a need,” said Rollins.

“The only thing different in this and regular is that you use a bigger needle,” said Betty Estep, WJBF NewsChannel 6 Woman To Watch.

And a little more effort….as in 700 to 900 bags per mat, type of effort.

“I usually sit down around lunchtime and start watching a game show and things on TV. And I’ll work in the afternoon usually on them, and I can make one in 3 or 4 days,” said Estep. “You just do a single crotchet. And you know with this being heavier and all it’s a little harder but I don’t have arthritis except in that little finger so.”

Since starting earlier this year, Miss Betty has already made more than 50 mats.

“You cut the very bottom off. Open your bag up and cut your top off. And then you fold it up. Cut it in half, and then you cut it in half again. And then you loop them together,” said Estep.

Something that looks so simple but means so much to so many.

“My little great grandkids said ‘well it looks awfully hard’ and I said, ‘yes, but if you’re sleeping on the ground or the concrete it’s a little better than that,” said Estep.

Giving comfort to those in need at a time when they most likely, least expect it.

“Well I think that’s what God intended for us to do, to be helpful for other people,” said Estep.

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