Earlier this year, I started using coupons more regularly to save money and to try to get deals on my shopping trips. I realized that by using coupons, I could buy way more items than I actually needed and decided to try to make a difference by donating the surplus items, such as food, household goods, toiletries and blankets. That's how Couponing for a Cause was born.
I have always liked to help out in the community, so I was excited to be able to give back through couponing. I’ve been working at the Olive Garden restaurant in Albuquerque, New Mexico, for more than four years. When I had my baby last September, I decided to only work part-time so I would have more time for my baby and to grow Couponing for a Cause. My husband has also been a huge supporter of Couponing for a Cause.
Couponing for a Cause partners with the Albuquerque Rescue Mission, which provides shelter, food, clothing and other resources to homeless men, women and children in the area. I did some research when trying to decide who to partner with, and I was impressed by their staff and all they do to help the homeless. After my first donation drop, the very next morning, I already saw our donations being used throughout the shelter.
I had always used coupons but found many resources online and learned a lot from the couponing community that I’ve been able to apply. I go through thousands of coupons to find deals. Usually, it is just me but sometimes I have others who volunteer their time to help, including a fellow Olive Garden team member. I also mail expired coupons to the military, which can be used six months after the expiration date at their commissaries.
I’ve received great feedback from the community, and I’m looking forward to continuing to grow the initiative and helping out beyond just one organization. Last month, there was a fire nearby, and I was able to donate items to the fire victims. The rest of the community got involved helping with donations. Olive Garden even donated food, and another organization donated a truck so we could get the donations to the affected people.
Since I launched Couponing for a Cause about three months ago, I’ve donated more than $2,500 worth of products at a cost of less than $150. It has been very rewarding, and I’m proud to be able to have an impact on my community.
By: Felicity Horowitz, Server, Olive Garden