For military families who relocate overseas, the financial transition can be difficult. Enlisted soldiers and their families may find stretching their dollars a real challenge, even more so then those who are based in this country.
One way that we can help is by saving expired or unused coupons and sending them to select co-op operations around the country. There are several military family support centers overseas who offer coupon exchanges. The military commissaries overseas accept manufacturer's cents-off coupons for up to six months past their printed expiration dates. What a treasure it is to know that our expired coupons can mean a real difference to the families who have dedicated and sacrificed a part of their lives for the sake of our country.
There are many ways that one individual can make a large difference to so many. If you are interested in participating in the collection of expired coupons to help these families, here is a small list of ideas that can help get you started.
- Post announcements in your company cafeteria or employee lounge and place a box for the coupons to be kept.
- Involve the members of any organization or clubs you may belong to such as your Senior Citizens Center, Garden Center, Book Club, Women's or Men Groups, etc., and get them involved in your efforts.
- If you are a teacher, use this as a project for your classes challenging your students to collect as many as possible. Offer a plaque of achievement to the class that collects the most.
- Solicit your fellow Church or Synagogue members to join in your cause!
You can only imagine the huge tasks that these organizations have as they go about sorting and bundling the coupons that are sent in. Since it is everyone's goal to be of help and not a hindrance, there are guidelines that are suggested for groups or individuals that are participating in this program. It looks pretty much like what we do anyway, but on a bigger scale.
- Tips -
- Cut and trim the sides of the coupons. This is not only helpful to the receiving centers, but you do not want to pay postage on dead weight.
- Separate the coupons into two major categories - Food (for humans) and Non-Food (pet food would be non-food). Place them in large sealed freezer bags and label.
- Attach a dollar total of the coupons onto the bag.
- Prior to sending your coupons, you may want to touch base with whom you are sending them to, to make certain that they do not have any other preferences for you to follow.
Adpot Your Own Military Base
You may elect to start your own co-op. Often individuals who are interested in doing this will "adopt" a military base for their co-ops contributions. The process just takes good organizational skills and a team willing to help.