By Mary Andersen, blackdoctor.org
If you’ve ever seen those extreme couponing shows, it looks amazing as these moms have carts full of groceries, but end up only paying a couple of dollars. It’s all due to their savvy research and clipping of coupons that many of us throw away in Sunday’s paper.
Lauren Puryear learned the art of couponing late in the game, not even a year ago, but now she’s a pro.
Puryear, was very close to her loving grandmother, who helped raise her. So after the death in 2012, it seemed fitting for Puryear to honor her legacy by launching the organization For Love of Others to provide food and other essentials to the homeless. “[My grandmother] always taught us to help other people and to love other people,” Puryear tells the website, ScaryMommy.com. “I know that she would want me to carry on her legacy.”
What started with providing Thanksgiving baskets to families in need, eventually turned into feeding the homeless year-round – no small feat indeed. For many years, Puryear met these needs the same way many moms feed their families by shopping hopping in bulk. But even though shopping in bulk helps you stretch your dollar a little bit, she still wanted to do more and, because she was buying the food with her own money, providing the meals started to take a serious toll on her pocketbook.
“I was introduced to couponing about eight months ago and knew that was my golden ticket to be able to help so many people,” says Puryear. Clipping coupons for staples like spaghetti and meatballs, she quickly she realized that this money-saving-strategy-turned-zealous-hobby could help her feed not just hundreds, but thousands, of hungry people.
“What inspires me is knowing that someone is going to bed with a full belly,” she says. “I am motivated by the fact that I know that I can make a difference in the world.”
Coupons are valuable paper and a hot commodity when used correctly. Puryear told NJ.com she can feed as many as 150 people with just $20 by getting items for free or for next to nothing.
“The joy of helping other people does not compare to any other accomplishment in my life,” says Puryear.
Those accomplishments include four, count ’em, FOUR degrees, including a bachelor’s, two masters, and a Ph.D. in psychology. On top of all that, Puryear is also a mental health clinician and single mom to a five-year-old son.
“It is very important to teach [my son] to help other people,” she “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.”
So far, Puryear has delivered 5,000 meals to people in New Jersey, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and surrounding areas. With the goal of delivering 30,000 meals to people in need by her 30th birthday, 29-year-old Puryear has her work cut out for her. But she’s confident that she’ll reach her goal by next year.