I believe TLC’s Extreme Couponing gives couponers a bad rap. It portrays couponers as hoarders who go out of their way to stockpile more enough supplies to serve a neighborhood, let alone one family. I’ve only caught two episodes, and don’t plan to watch more as each story makes me sadder and sadder for the waste they show.
Contrary to that show, I believe that there is a good way to coupon. The obvious, I coupon to save my family money on products we need and use already. The not so obvious, to create a small stockpile of free items to donate to those in need. Last week, the unfortunate events in Alabama gave me the opportunity to unload my entire stockpile for a good cause.
I saw the email at 10 am. A friend forwarded a notice that a local church and the local fire station had partnered together to gather supplies and send a truck to Alabama to pass on those donations to families struck by the recent tornadoes. The catch, everything had to be at the church by 3 pm, and I was in the middle of packing to leave at 12 pm. For me it was easy, I knew that under the sink in my laundry room, I had a bag overflowing with soap, shampoo, conditioner, tampons, razors and more — all of which was on the list of supplies needed.
I was able to get my bag of full-size and travel-size supplies to a friend in a matter of minutes who was headed out to go shopping for supplies herself. And I didn’t have to think about how the donation would impact my families budget – everything in that bag was free (or only a few pennies) at the time of purchase.
I felt good because I was able to help last minute without any hesitation because I was ready with donations, thanks to my couponing. This isn’t the first time I have been able to do this either, I last blogged about this with the Haiti disaster. But this was the quickest turnaround, which would have otherwise prevented me from helping out. That is the side of couponing that I wish Extreme Couponing would cover, but I realize that my one free item here one there doesn’t make for good TV. It is, however, why I coupon and why I will continue to encourage others to do so.
If you too are a couponer with a stockpile, or even if you want to head out and purchase supplies to help, there is a new disaster in the headlines today in Joplin, MO where even more lives were lost as an F4 or 5 tornado ripped through the town yesterday, and they need our help.
How you can help:
Fellow blogger and couponer, Kristin from Couponing to Disney, is located in Alabama and she has used her blog as a platform to solicit donations on behalf of her church for her local community. As of last week, she received more than 500+ boxes of donations for her community. (You can learn more about those efforts here.) She is now sending all overages to MO.
For the relief effort in MO, Kristin has been in contact with a local church that would love to receive your donations. (You can learn more about those efforts here.)
If you would like to help those families in need, you can send your donations to:
c/o Pentecostal Church of God
4901 Pennsylvania Avenue
Joplin, MO 64804
(BTW – don’t forget about Flat Rate boxes from the PO, you can load those puppies to the brim for one rate.)
- Baby supplies (including diapers, wipes, A&D Ointment, baby food and juices)
- Convenience food (snack type)
- Diabetic Monitors with Strips
- First aid supplies
- Over the counter medications (mainly Tylenol)
- Pet food
- Shampoo and Conditioner
- Soap and body wash
- Soap Powders and Cleaning Supplies
- Sunscreen and Bug Spray
- Toothpaste and Tooth Brushes
They ask that we refrain from sending clothing at this time.
And that is why I coupon.