A stranger might think Randy-B Funk's name isn't real, especially since he writes hip-hop and rap music—but they would be mistaken. Randy Funk's first and last names are the same as his father's. That's why Randy Junior uses his middle initial, B for Burton, as part of his name. This time of year though, it would also be appropriate to call him the "Christmas Kid."
"He's a really good kid," said Randy's mother Michele. "Some people ask me, 'Is there anything bad about Randy?' He runs a little late sometimes, but other than that, he's really responsible, really motivated and has a really loving heart."
This holiday, Randy will bring smiles to dozens of parents and children with his Sock and Stuffy —aka S.O.S.—drive, where he's collecting socks and stuffed animals for men, women and children who will be spending their Christmas at a number of homeless shelters. So far, the drive has been a rousing success. As Boise Weekly was going to press, Randy had collected more than 3,300 pairs of socks, 21 jackets, 225 stuffed animals, 30 blankets and hundreds of toys. Before delivering the surprises to the Boise Rescue Mission Warehouse on Friday, Dec. 22, the 14-year-old Funk spent a few minutes with Boise Weekly to talk about his motivations, his music and his dreams for the future.
I understand that you started your Treasure Valley Christmas fund drives two years ago.
In 2015, I collected 400 pairs of socks for homeless men, plus 14 bags of clothes for women and 55 Christmas toys for kids. Last year, we took 60 suitcases and stuffed them with supplies and donated them to the River of Life Men's Shelter and the City Light [Home for Women and Children]. The donations are really pouring in for new socks and underwear and a lot of kids have emailed me that they want to donate their own stuffed animals to other children.
I was a bit surprised to learn that your fund drive's press release was written by your mom. It looks like it was put together by a P.R. firm.
Her name is Michele Funk and she's got a degree in marketing. She helps arrange speaking engagements so that I can tell civic groups about the S.O.S. drive.
Where does all this passion come from?
My faith. When I was younger, my family used to live in Hawaii and every Christmas Eve, we would spend our night bringing food and clothes to homeless people. When we moved to Meridian, I immediately began volunteering at the local food bank and even helped to organize some food drives.
It's one thing to participate in a fund drive. It's a whole new level to organize one.
Absolutely. For instance, when I first approached Fred Meyer about putting some collection barrels at a couple of their locations, I was told that I had to talk to their corporate headquarters. But that didn't stop me. I eventually was fortunate enough to place some barrels at the Fred Meyer stores on Locust Grove in Meridian and on Linder in Eagle, plus Postal Express on Fairview Avenue and Grade Power Learning Center on Eagle Road.
Let's talk a little about that name of yours. I see that you put a hyphen in your name, making it Randy-B Funk. That's a tiny bit edgy and it definitely sounds like a rapper's name. But again, this is your real name.
I really wasn't trying to be edgy. I just wanted to distinguish my name from my Dad's name.
Tell me about your music.
I just love to create beats. I can't even begin to tell you how much I love music. I was lucky enough to go a music camp in Nashville this past June and a bunch of famous musicians spent some serious time with us. I write all kinds of music, but the songs I write more than anything else are usually alternative Christian hip-hop or rap.
Where can we see you perform?
I haven't done that yet. I've only performed in front my parents and a couple of friends.
But sooner than later, you may need to perform in public.
I know. I'm working on it. Believe it or not, I'm pretty shy. But when you care about something so much, your shyness washes away.