US woman plans to feed 30,000 people using supermarket coupons

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Lauren Puryear says she can feed 150 people for £15 by using the vouchers 

A US woman has set herself the goal of feeding 30,000 hungry people using supermarket coupons.

Lauren Puryear, a 29-year-old from New Jersey, said she can feed up to 150 people on $20 (£15) – the equivalent of just 10 pence per person – by combining offers to get the best deal she can.

Ms Puryear said she wanted to reach her 30,000 target by the time she turns 30 next year.

After the death of her grandmother, Ms Puryear started an organisation dedicated to feeding the hungry.

At first she bought food in bulk, either online or from discount grocery chains such as Cosco and BJ’s. But then she realised she could feed many more people if she used coupons.

“I started couponing for food items like spaghetti and meatballs and I was able to get the items for free or for little to no money,” she told NewJersey.com

“There are coupons in the Sunday paper, or online that you can print. 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,” Ms Puryear explained.

She said grocery shopping can take her hours. Sometimes she has to make multiple trips or bring other people with her to make separate purchases so that together they can pool their resources and get the best deal possible.

So far she has delivered 5,000 meals, but is confident she will reach her 30,000 goal by her birthday next year. She feeds people in New Jersey, but also travels to Washington D.C. and Baltimore to distribute free meals.

Ms Puryear, a mental health clinician, is also a single mother to a five-year-old boy.

“It is very important to teach him to help other people,” she said. “The little things we take for granted, the food we throw away every day.”

Ms Puryear is not the first to use supermarket vouchers to help those in need. In December 2015, a British mother-of-two donated a shop worth £1,200 to the homeless that was paid for entirely with coupons.

 

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