One East Coast woman has set a lofty goal, feeding some 30,000 meals to people in need by her 30th birthday, using a little bit of extreme couponing to help, NJ.com reports.
Twenty-nine-year-old Lauren Puryear said that if she does it correctly, she can feed some 150 people with just $20, depending on the items. And, having already delivered more than 5,000 meals, Puryear is confident that she can reach her 30,000 goal by next year, right on time to also mark her 30th birthday on Sept. 14, 2017.
“I started couponing for food items like spaghetti, meatballs, and I was [often] able to get the items for free or for little to no money,” she told NJ.com. “There are coupons in the Sunday paper, or online that you can print … so I collect as many as I can, match them to the store, and that is how I am able to get the items for free.”
According to the site, Puryear, a mental-health clinician, started the organization For the Love of Others shortly after the death of her grandmother Marion Smith, who, Puryear says, “had a heart of gold and was willing to give her last to help someone in need until her last dying day.”
The organization, according to the website, seeks to “empower, enrich and enhance the lives of people from all backgrounds.”
Puryear, a single mom of a 5-year-old, started out buying food in bulk from stores like Costco and BJ’s, or online on eBay and Amazon.com, but it wasn’t enough, and she wanted to reach more people. And so, when someone told her about couponing, she quickly latched on to the idea.
“My first couponing experience ever was canned vegetables,” Puryear told ABC News. “I was able to get them for 4 cents a can at Dollar General, so I bought 420 cans and I added chicken and rice to that meal.
“I figured if I could coupon for the vegetables, I could coupon for everything,” she added.
Puryear’s reach now extends through New Jersey, the Washington, D.C.-Maryland-Virginia area and beyond.
ABC News reports that Puryear spends about five to 10 hours a week searching for coupons before recruiting friends and family to come with her to buy and transport the food, since many stores have a limit on how much can be bought by any one person.
To Puryear, helping others is the most rewarding experience.
“Just knowing that we’re making a difference in someone’s life, that’s the most rewarding thing and what keeps me going,” she said. “The little things we take for granted, the food we throw away every day … and if we just spread a little more love around, the world would be such a better place.”