Today we’re going to hear from Peggy, who is sharing the story of how she and her husband started an unconventional food pantry through their church. Take it away, Peggy!
My husband read the book, "Same Kind of Different as Me" by Ron Hall and Denver Moore, and was very impacted. He wanted to do something to improve life for others. He had been on several missions trips but he wanted to do something local. James 1:27 tells us to take care of widows and orphans and this spurred an idea.
He got the idea to start a food pantry, but not the traditional type, through our church. Rather than have people come to a central distribution center, his idea was to use the food as an outreach ministry. It was set up where members of the church could take food to any friends, family, other church members, acquaintances, etc that were struggling financially. They didn't have to come to us - We would come to them. This all started during the worst part of our recent economic downturn so there were LOTS of people in need. Many people don't qualify for any government assistance but still have a difficult time making ends meet. Many times people either had too much pride to ask or thought others needed the food more so they didn't want to take the food away from others so they wouldn't ask. But with this program, we thought we could help a population that wasn't receiving help.
Let me mention that I have been a couponer/stockpiler long before it was so prevalent. (My son says I am cheap like Mr. Krabs from SpongeBob ). So when my husband was developing the idea, he asked for my help. He wanted me to buy the food for the pantry as cheaply as possible so we could serve the most people.
We went to the church body and asked for their help. We asked for them to donate money, food, and coupons. The response was amazing. I promised everyone I would do my best to maximize every dollar donated. (I had taught couponing classes and had a reputation as being quite frugal so they knew I would!) I also had a spot in the church bulletin that told people what was on sale at Publix that week (thanks to iheartpublix.com's early sale postings) so they could buy food for the pantry cheaper, too.
By using couponing and smart shopping and through the generosity of church members, this food pantry has helped hundreds of families. We helped people in the church, friends, friends of friends, co-workers, school children, people we met at the grocery store, anyone we knew that needed help. Sometimes just the thought that someone cares for you makes life just a little easier. Having a little extra food in your house doesn't hurt either.
Without the smart shopping techniques found on websites such as this one, we wouldn't have been able to do this.
Thanks for sharing your story, Peggy!
I can always use a few new volunteers for the Reader Spotlight – so please write in if you have a story to tell! Your post can be about almost anything to do with couponing. You can tell us about a particularly good or bad situation you’ve dealt with as a couponer, about how you got into couponing or how couponing has impacted the rest of your life, you can make a list of things every new couponer should know…just about anything, really! If you think it’s interesting and it has to do with couponing, email me with your idea at contactiheartpublix @ gmail.com!