Hometown Hero Turns Bags into Blessings for the Homeless

By Melanie Chapman | mchapman@kolr10.com

Published 02/05 2014 06:59PM

Updated 02/05 2014 10:40PM

MARSHFIELD, Mo. – A Marshfield woman is helping to turn simple shopping bags into a tool to help the homeless.

Casey Ruzicka is the director of the Women's Ministry for Cross Bridge Church in Marshfield.

“The homeless, they're just kind of the forgotten people group like out of sight out of mind,” says Casey. “That was just really heavy on my heart.”

So, she got members of her church to turn her vision into a reality by using bags, scissors and a lot of heart.

“It starts with a grocery bag, then we cut them into these squares which open up and then they get looped together,” Casey explains her technique.

The cut grocery bags are then crocheted into mats the size of a sleeping bag. The benefits of the mat are tremendous in the dangerous weather conditions.

“What they do is they retain heat in the winter or help keep them cooler in the summer by getting them off the ground,” says Casey. “They help repel bugs, wipe away moisture and keeps them dry. And they are light weight for them to carry, which is really important because everything they have is with them.”

Casey gives the mats to Devery Mills, with Hearts for the Homeless, and Devery delivers those mats to those out on the street.

“When she handed one out, there was joy and almost relief to get one of those,” says Casey. “Because it really does make a difference.”

The task is not easy. It takes 35 hours and at least 700 to 800 bags to make one mat, but that will make one person know people do care.

“Encourage them that they aren't forgotten,” says Casey. “There are people praying for them and wanting to help and make a difference.”

The church helps recycle all of the scraps, too.

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