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Coupons for Hunger

When it comes to shopping at grocery stores, there’s the path that most of us tread, and then there are couponers. And I don’t mean just bringing one or two coupons from the weeks mailer. I mean extreme couponers. People who treat couponing like a part or full-time job, spend hours in the grocery store at a time, and reduce hundreds of dollars into pocket change at the cash register.  Maybe you’ve seen the TLC show that chronicles this experience.

I usually balk at most extreme couponing because it seems somewhat unnecessary. I don’t have problems with coupons for items I would actually use, like dried pasta, beans or certain canned vegetables, but who needs 300 deodorant sticks or 150 bottles of ketchup? I don’t care if they’re free or close to free, it’s just excess.

Just as I was about to stop recording the show on my DVR, a recent episode profiled two couponers doing good with their purchases. One woman enlisted her entire community by setting up a coupon station at the front of the store. Her and her family handed out coupons to shoppers for them to pick up one or two items at a time. Because of her diligence and organization, these items were free at the register and didn’t cost the shopper any additional money. All items were collected at shoppers exited and were donated to the local food bank.

You may not have to be an extreme couponer to utilize this system, either. The next time you’re sifting through the Sunday paper, clip a couple of coupons for items that you can donate to your local food bank. Depending on the coupon, the item you buy may be free or very close to it. Even if you spend a little out-of-pocket, using coupons to help others is an easy way to give back this season.

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Food for Thought

"To care about food but not food production is clearly absurd." // Wendell Berry

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