So, on alternate Mondays, the Muncie Coupon Exchange meets. I ended up giving away far more coupons than I took, but that's only because the next couple weeks are pretty weak at both CVS and Walgreens. If you search, you can get advance copies of the ads. A great site for couponing is http://www.afullcup.com/. They have separate forums by store, and they'll post advance copies of ads so that you have time to trade for coupons for the items you want/need.
Most importantly, I finally met Liane (pronounced Lee-ann), the executive director of a charity called Take 5. This charity is a "non-food" food bank, providing 5 taxable non-food items per month to people who can't afford them. Think about that for a second. How bad would your financial situation have to be before you couldn't afford toothpaste, or toilet paper, or garbage bags? This charity assists 300 families PER MONTH. There is a huge need for help in our community. Seeing her operation (and the dedication of the volunteers who staff it) is something that is unbelievably inspirational. From now on, this is the primary charity to which I will donate. I'm only one person, but I have a plan to help.
I've submitted a proposal to the University to create an immersive learning course (with me as the teacher) to teach students how to use coupons for the benefit of charities such as Take 5, the Muncie Mission (our men's homeless shelter), and A Better Way (Muncie's domestic violence shelter), along with the Christian Ministries food pantry. Look at my pictures of items I've donated below. Now imagine if we could multiply that by 10, or 20, or more. NOW we're talking about something that could truly benefit the less fortunate in our community. I've talked to several charities in Muncie, and to store managers at both a CVS and a Walgreens. They're all on board. If I can recruit 20 people to copy what I do (and search for their own bargains), we'll really make a difference, but the biggest part will come when we send that group out to recruit additional members. Ultimately, I'd like to have 200 people committed to our efforts. They can donate money (NOBODY leverages money like we will), time, coupons, or they can participate right along with us. The retailers will support us, because manufacturers ultimately reimburse them for coupons used. The community will support us with donations, because of the return they'll get on their investment. Charities stand to benefit, so they'll support us. Students will learn a lot about stretching a dollar, and they'll become acquainted with the face of poverty in the community, while making a small but positive difference in people's lives. Win-win-win-win situations really don't come around that often.
This is fun for me. It's going to be a great project. Keep your fingers crossed for me, and hope that we get funded! In the meantime, to the extent you can, please be generous in thought, spirit, and deed to those who can use your help, in whatever form that takes.
Ninja--over and out.