For over a year, I have been a volunteer for Coups for Troops, a charity organization that was founded right here in North Carolina to help military families. The way we help the families is by providing expired–yes, expired–coupons to groups of families living living on overseas bases, where by special agreement, coupons that have passed their expiration dates can still be used for groceries and other items at the base’s “PX”, or post exchange, which is basically a big grocery and sundries store. I first heard about Coups for Troops two or three years ago when they were featured on the news, and I thought it sounded like a great program. At first I just donated coupons, but I noticed that their person in North Carolina was inactive, and so I volunteered to do it myself.
This is the way it works: people send in donations of coupons to us, the “satellite locations”, and we process the coupons by cutting out the ones that haven’t been clipped (sometimes people just send the full inserts) and getting rid of the ones we can’t use, and then repack a box full of these “edited” coupons and ship them to “swap groups” at the overseas bases. Those groups then distribute them to the families for use. We can use any manufacturer’s coupons, for things like soap, pet food, candy, frozen food–you know; pretty much anything you would buy at the store for your home needs. What we can’t use: coupons specifically for stores or restaurants (remember, these folks are shopping at the PX, so a coupon for Harris Teeter or Chuck E. Cheese won’t help) or coupons that are too old. Coupons that are still within six months of the expiration date are usable at the PX, but since it can take a couple of months to process, pack and ship each box, it’s always best to start with coupons that are no more than two months expired.
If you would like to help Coups for Troops in the effort to make living more affordable for military families, please send your donation of coupons, the newer the better (non-expired ones are fine, too!) to any satellite address you choose on the list at www.coupsfortroops.com. Since we all pay our own postage to send things, it would be nice to send some stamps from time to time as well, if you want to, but please just do what you can. We appreciate any donations!