Your Surplus Deal Items Can Help Those In Need
In a recent column, I shared an email from a shopper who said she couldn’t stop buying deal-priced items and wondered how much was “too much.” This column generated quite a few responses from readers:
I just finished reading your article in our local newspaper and wanted to suggest a possible addition to your points. If others enjoy the couponing and saving process, why not do that shopping and get those deals to donate to local food banks or pantry kitchens for those in need? Continue to shop for a good cause it's a win-win!”
“It is that time of year when food banks are going to rev up collections for food items. If I have coupons for more items than we can use, but the sales price and coupon make a huge savings on the item purchased and the item has a long expiration, I will get the items and put them aside for food banks. A lot of people do this. It is a good way to support your community if you don’t have a lot of money.”
“I live alone so the amount of food and products I use is comparatively small. However, excellent coupons and deals can be put to good use to help others as well as ourselves. Our local food bank is always in need of staples and as evacuees from the Houston area move into shelters here in North Texas, the demand will be even greater. The needs of those living in the hurricane-damaged areas will need assistance for years to come.”
I'm always looking for buy one, get one free store specials and closeout items for my own use and also to donate. Once there was an entire shopping basket full of a discontinued spaghetti sauce. I bought 15 jars at an extremely low cost. Another time, a local market marked down to almost-giveaway prices large bags of rice and pinto beans they had stocked for the holidays. I purchased the remaining six bags to donate, thinking each bag would feed a hungry family for quite a while.
Many food banks now have freezers and refrigerators. Usually I get a free or low-cost ham or turkey due to loss leaders at markets during the holiday seasons for minimum purchases. These large donations are greatly appreciated as food baskets are being assembled.
“What is the use of hoarding things just because it was a good deal? If the ‘good deal’ has an expiration or sell-by date, the buyer might end up just throwing it out.”
Many more readers wrote on this topic as well to echo similar sentiments – if you’ve got the opportunity to purchase groceries and other household essentials for pennies on the dollar, why not share some of your bargain finds with others in need? Especially now, with enormous post-hurricane relief efforts underway, if you’re able to help donate supplies to those in need, you can use your couponing skills to stock up on essentials like nonperishable and canned foods, shampoo, soap, toothpaste, diapers, pet food, and first aid supplies. Even if you’re not near the areas affected by hurricane damage and flooding, you may find organizations in your area are collecting these supplies to send where they’re most needed. Here in the Chicago suburbs where I’m from, a neighboring town has been hosting a drop box for these kinds of supplies, then spearheading the effort to package them up and send them to shelters for people in need.
Remember, too, that our local food banks and food pantries serve our communities year-round, and these groups will also welcome your surplus food donations. Many pantries also accept personal care, laundry and cleaning products, as well as household products that often are not covered by food stamp assistance programs.
I appreciate everyone who took the time to write on this topic – it’s a wonderful thing to see so many people willing to donate and help others.
Jill Cataldo, a coupon workshop instructor, writer and mother of three, never passes up a good deal. Learn more about Super-Couponing at her website, www.jillcataldo.com. Email your own couponing victories and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.