I came across this program recently and thought I'd share it with as many people as I can. I'm not sure why this is such a well kept secret and everybody really should know about this.
Did you know that millions of dollars in coupons are unused every year? If you get the Sunday paper, you probably clip manufacturers' coupons for your grocery shopping. Often, you'll throw away the coupons you'll never use, and sometimes a coupon will expire before you actually get to use it. Gosh, I hate it when the register clerk seems to take pleasure in telling me that my $5 coupon expired the day before I meant to use it!
Now, you can STOP throwing away unused or expired coupons and instead give them away to military families through the Overseas Coupon Program. Military families stationed overseas don't get the paper and therefore don't get grocery coupons. However, the commissionaries will accept manufacturers' coupons, up to six months after expiration date.
This program only applies to press printed coupons (not coupons printed on your home computer, which the families can do while overseas) and to national brands (as opposed to local). Here's what you need to do to start your coupon donation program, by yourself, or as part of a group at work, school, church, etc:
- Collect unused or expired coupons (no more than one to two months expired, as they take time to reach the overseas bases). Clip coupons to their exact size, to reduce the paper weight when shipping.
- Sort coupons by "food" (i.e. human food) and "non-food" items (including diapers, cleaning supplies, pet supplies, medications, etc)
- Total the batch of coupons in dollar amount and write that on a piece of paper. This helps the base keep track of how many dollars in coupons they receive.
- Put each pile of coupons into a separate ziplock plastic bag and label them "food" and "non-food".
- Find a participating military base on the Overseas Coupon program website ( http://ocpnet.org/Base%20List/BaseList1.htm ). This list gets updated on a regular basis. Only mail coupons to bases who still accept donations as indicated on that page.
- Mail your coupons through the post office using Parcel Post (cheaper but also slower). On the USPS custom's form, list the contents as "manufacturers' coupons" and the value of the package at "$0.00″, and check the "Gift" box. If you have a lot of coupons to send out, it may be best to choose Priority Mail as you can fit as much as you can in a specific envelope for one designated fee.
That's it! This is a very simple way to help out our troops in a way you may not have heard of before. Please help me get the word out by directing people to this post( http://perfectingmotherhood.wordpress.com/2010/07/26/give-your-unused-or-expired-coupons-to-military-families-overseas ) for instructions on how to donate their coupons to overseas military families!
Thanks for sharing the good word, and happy clipping!