Save Money and Help Others, too!
by Stephanie Nelson, GMA Savings Mom
Did you know that August is typically the most difficult time of year for food pantries and charities? That’s because the children of food pantry clients generally receive free breakfast and/or lunch at school during the school year, so the client demand at area food pantries increases in the summer. At the same time, the majority of food drives are held during the school year when schools and organizations are in session, so food donations drop dramatically during the summer. As a result, food pantries are challenged to feed more people all summer. By August, their supplies are depleted and holiday food drives are still a few months away.
You can help by locating your local charity and contacting them to see what their needs are. They may need donations of food, used clothing, or school supply donations. Find your nearest charity by using a search engine with your suburb and state’s name and the words “food pantry.” You can also check with a local place of worship to see which local charity they support with food drives.
Donate food: It is easy to donate grocery bargains with coupons using the Cut Out Hunger strategy on The Savings Mom website. Many items are FREE with a coupon. Keep a box in your house or garage for each week’s bargains, and deliver it to the charity when it’s full. Involve your children for a meaningful family activity.
Donate supplies: School supplies are selling at up to 80% off their regular prices at this time of year. Pick up a few extra items for your charity, and let your children select the items they’d like to give. Save even more money at store clearance sales, which typically start a couple of weeks after the school year is in session.
Donate clothes: As your children outgrow last year’s school clothes, you can donate gently-used items to your charity. This cleans out your closets and is much easier than holding a yard sale!
If you itemize your taxes, you may even be able to deduct the value of the food, supplies and clothing donated from your taxes (based on the cost you paid of new items or the used clothing value).
As children go back to school, you may have some extra time to volunteer. If you can spare the time, you will find that this investment will pay big dividends to your charity and your community at no financial cost to you.
Help Military Families:
Do you throw away your Sunday newspaper grocery coupons each week? Your trash could help someone else save cash! Military commissaries overseas (grocery stores) accept grocery coupons six months after they expire. Many overseas commissaries carry common US grocery items, but the grocery coupon circulars are not available in foreign newspapers. Therefore, military families stationed overseas can save dramatically when they receive coupons from the States. Many military bases have well-organized programs of collecting and distributing grocery coupons to their families. For the cost of postage, your expired coupons could make a difference for several families.
You could even get our children involved by collecting unused coupons from neighbors and cutting them for mailing. You save time (cutting) and they learn an easy way to help others.