Give from the Bottom of Your Cart

Writing a check is not the only way to give to charity. Your pocket change can go a long way to help feed people in your community who are going through tough times. And it takes only minutes, not hours of your time.

food pantry

It’s easy to do this when you use grocery coupons to buy items for charity. With coupons, it is easy to turn $1 or $2 into $10 or more of food and personal care items that shelters and food pantries desperately need.

Every week as you shop for your own groceries, add a couple of good charity items, which would non-perishable. Then put them in a box in the garage or closet. When it’s full, take the box to a local food pantry. You might discover that your children enjoy helping deliver the food.

Matching coupons with sales is the way to really load up on high-quality foods without having to pay a fortune at the checkout. And when you save money by using coupons, you can buy more than you need so you have plenty to donate to help feed people going through desperate situations. It will make you feel like a million bucks while saving big on your own groceries.

Another way to go about this: Find out what your local food pantry needs and look for coupons for those items. When the item goes on sale, use the coupon and it will cost only pennies—sometimes completely free.

Charities that feed the hungry always need soups and stews, canned beans and tomatoes, canned fruits and vegetables, dried beans, cereals, oatmeal, peanut butter and tuna. It’s easy to find coupons for the items they need.

Food pantries are not difficult to locate. Your church may have a food cupboard or call other churches. If they don’t have on, ask them if they have a food drive and where they take that food.

Many schools have food drives. Call yours and ask where they donate their food. Your grocery store probably donates their day-old bread to a local food pantry. If so, they can tell you more about that organization. Go to Feeding America to find the closest food bank or large gathering and distribution center. They can give you information about food pantries in your area.

Ask the grocery store manager if the company would place a year-round food collection bin in the store. Other shoppers are more likely to donate food if there is a collection bin in the store. Start a food pantry at your church or community center. Volunteer to deliver the food to the distribution site once a month. Enlist friends and take turns delivering the food to the charity.

The Cut Out Hunger program was started as a result of Stephanie Nelson, the Coupon Mom, visiting her local food pantry and discovering that the pantry shelves were empty and the waiting room was full. To help fill their shelves, she began teaching a few friends how to buy food with coupons for that charity. Today, thousands of shoppers are “cutting out hunger” across the country while saving money on their own groceries, too. You can even get your kids involved with the Kids Cut Out Hunger program.

Imagine what could happen if 1,000 people in your community donated just a few items each week to the bin. You would multiply your generosity a thousandfold for little monetary cost. But your contribution would be priceless.

If you wait to give until you have a lot of money you probably never will. Start now with what’s in your pocket. It will make things better for someone else and change your life, too.

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6 replies
  1. Pat
    Pat says:

    I do this all the time. I use coupons and get stuff for free after coupons. I stock pile it and donate to the tornado relief or the flood relief etc. Sometimes I donate to the food banks too. I bought formula with coupons because of the overage and donated them to the food banks because I didn’t need the formula I just wanted the 1.50 overage off my grocery bill. Win Win for everybody. I love to give back to my friends and family. When a neighbor lost her job I let her go shopping at my house which really helped her a lot. I buy my paper products on amazon with survey dollars so we are stocked on that too. I couldn’t afford to help people without coupons or my survey dollars. I am still trying to pay off a credit card so I can get our leaking roof replaced. Just a few more years and we will be leak free. Yippee.

  2. Beck
    Beck says:

    Our church doesn’t have one but we donate each month to the local pantry. The rep tells our congregation what they need most that month and we all donate in a box in our Narthex to be taken to the food pantry it is easy just add it to your grocery list then drop it in the box on the way into church. So glad to see this article many in our country are hungry. God bless you for writing this today.

  3. Birgit Nicolaisen
    Birgit Nicolaisen says:

    Our church houses a local food pantry. In addition to the constant food needs, they always ask for personal care items and toiletries, things that can’t be purchased with food stamps.

    • Karen
      Karen says:

      I was going to post the exact same comment! Our local food pantry routinely requests the following items:
      Feminine Hygiene products
      Depends-type items
      Toilet paper
      Cleaning supplies
      Laundry care items

      For a list of eligible/ineligible SNAP items, please go to


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