Two problems that are persistent around the country are the proper disposal of plastic bags and homelessness.

You may not think those two issues have anything in common, but one Fall River man has found a solution to help both problems by creating mats for the homeless using only plastic bags.

Fall River's Chris Menard experienced homelessness for a short while and knows firsthand the struggles that come along with it. His sister and her boyfriend are currently homeless, living out of a tent near the bridge. With something to sleep on other than the ground, his sister is considered one of the lucky ones. Many homeless people in the area are forced to sleep in terrible conditions, and Menard knew he wanted to do something about it.

He worked at a grocery store for several years and noticed that the plastic bags weren’t always disposed of properly. That’s when he began collecting plastic bags on his own so they could be reused and crocheted into handmade mats.

Made up of 100 percent used plastic bags, Menard weaves the mats and hands them out to local homeless people in the Fall River area.

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“The city of Fall River is not the safest neighborhood,” he said. “This gives them the opportunity to not sleep on the ground. It gives them a chance to live.”

His flyer explains that plastic bags are the ideal material for his mats. The bags are much easier to keep dry rather than cloth. The plastic also repels bugs, and they are extremely lightweight.

Courtesy of Chris Menard

Menard said that this process requires a lot of plastic bags and he is currently looking for people to donate theirs. It’s a great way to give these plastic bags another use, instead of letting them collect in landfills.

Find Chris Menard on Facebook if you would like to help with his mission. Your plastic bags have the potential to make a positive impact on a SouthCoast community in need.

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