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Someone You Should Know: Helping the homeless in Sioux Falls

Published: Dec. 8, 2021 at 5:46 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - A woman from Madison, South Dakota spends a lot of her time making an item that helps the homeless in Sioux Falls. We think she’s Someone You Should Know.

A few years back, Bonnie Funk got an idea.

“It was on the internet. My daughter in California cued me into it, so I just started it,” said Bonnie.

She would make mats from plastic bags. The kind you get at the grocery store.

“I crochet them from plastic bags. We call that plarn. Stands for plastic yarn. What you do, is you take the bags and fold them and cut them into strips and weave them together,” said Bonnie.

The mats, help the homeless.

“They can lay them on the ground, and put their sleeping bag on it, and it will help keep the sleeping bag dry. They’re four feet wide, eight feet long and it takes 800 bags,” said Bonnie. “The mats are designed to have a handle so they can carry them around if they need too.

That’s about 800 bags to make one mat. Bonnie has made about 40 of them.

“People all over town save bags for me. People that live here,” said Bonnie.

The soon-to-be 89-year old former nurse, works on the mats, with some others at her assisted living facility in Madison.

“There are four benefits to doing this. One is, it gives the homeless person the mat. Two is, each mat keeps 800 bags out of the landfill. Three is, I save the ends when I cut them. I save the handles and the ends, and I make pillows for animals. And my son takes them down to Sioux Falls to the Animal Rescue Shelter. And the fourth one is, it keeps us old ladies busy,” said Bonnie.

“When I saw what Bonnie does. I’ve known her for quite a while in other groups but didn’t realize that she made those pads for people on the street in Sioux Falls. And she has someone take the bags down there,” said friend Marj McElhose.

The mats get taken to the Chuch on the Street program, which helps the homeless in Sioux Falls.

“It makes me feel good about helping the homeless people. As long as they are needed, I’ll keep on doing it. I can’t very well solve the problems of the world, but you can help wherever you can,” said Bonnie.

If you’d like to give your grocery bags to Bonnie you can drop them off at the Heritage Assisted Living in Madison.

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