POSTED: Tuesday, November 10, 2009 - 9:26am
UPDATED: Thursday, June 3, 2010 - 11:59pm
Like many coupon clippers, Stacey Middleton is proud of her savings when she shops. As she got better and better at the coupong game over time, an idea came to her. Middleton started asking members of her church to pass along unused coupons. Not to help her, but to help others. She figured people can be taught how to use the buying power of coupons to help people who need it most to stretch a dollar, or to come up with extra food donations for the poor.
"Every Sunday she would get up and she would hold up a coupon and tell people, you know what this is?", said Fr. Lloyd Casson of the Philadelphia Cathedral. "This is what happens, this is what you can do with it, and so on. And people have just responded."
Middleton starts the process on web sites like "http://www.couponmom.com".
"They list all of the items on sale, that are listed by the stores themselves", Middleton said. "Then these web sites match those sales with the coupons and their flyers."
For example, the site will guide her to a coupon from mid-June. Middleton keeps hundreds of past flyers and coupons sorted by date so they're easy to find.
One a recent buying spree Middleton saved 75 percent thanks to coupons. She then donated some of her windfall products to charity. After spreading this basic concept to others in her church, she now gathers food donated by fellow parishioners and delivers them to a Philadelphia homeless shelter for women and children.
The mission also has a food pantry for the needy, and demand is way up. "We unfortunately, for the first time since I've worked here had to turn people away."
But these new contributions are helping fill the void. "There's going to be a lot of families really happy about this opportunity."
Stacy Middleton is thankful. "By this happening in our church, people not only give me donations, and give me the coupon flyers as donations, but they have also begun to bring more food. Because it's so easy.