ST. FRANCOIS COUNTY — A St. Francois County-based couponing group is making good use of its members’ couponing skills to provide basic items for southeast Missourians in need.
The Facebook group, Couponing in Southeast Missouri, recently took part in a special project organized by the page’s co-administrator, Stacey Prather.
“I organized a Food Pantry Drive with a lot of my fellow couponers to see how well we could do,” she said. “We shopped at the Farmington Walmart and then donated all the items we bought to the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry in Park Hills. Our couponing group on Facebook has over 400 members that we help daily. I asked those who were interested to donate $5, along with some coupons, and the response was overwhelming. The drive exceeded my expectations and I want to thank everyone involved.”
Prather said she has only been taking part in what some people call “extreme couponing” since November, but quickly realized the method could be a way to help those having a tough time making ends meet in this slow economy.
“We can go into a store and, using coupons, buy things like shampoo, toothpaste and food items in large quantities for a lot less than a person could go in and buy the same items without them,” said Prather. “Sometimes we can save several hundred dollars off what the same products would normally cost to buy.”
Because of this, however, couponers can often end up with a storage room filled with items they purchased with coupons at little or no cost, but might literally take years to use. Prather said she realized the group’s couponing skills and large collection of coupons could be used to provide staple items for people who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford them.
“I couldn’t believe how many things we were able to take over to St. Vincent de Paul,” said Prather. “It was really amazing.”
Now that the group’s first try at using their love of couponing skills to help others was so successful, Prather said she wants to make this a continuing project for the group and hopes that others will join them.
“I want the word to get out because I plan on doing this every month for a different cause,” she said. “ I'm already in the process of my February drive. It's going to be for the My Sister’s Place women's shelter in Bonne Terre. If I can get the word out then we could possibly have more people helping out.”
Prather said it isn’t the intention of herself, co-administrator Felicia Byers, or any of the other members of the Couponing in Southeast Missouri group to garner attention or praise for themselves.
“We just want to help the people who could use some assistance,” she said. “That’s all we’re interested in doing.”
To join the Couponing in Southeast Missouri group on Facebook, go to: http://goo.gl/rqYZ7.
Kevin R. Jenkins is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-431-2010, ext. 114 or at email@example.com.