from JeAnne Selby, 2013 Campvention PR Chair
Region 3 FCRVers want you to stop throwing out your unused and unwanted manufacturers’ coupons and start saving them, to be collected at the 2013 Campvention in Amana, IA, in July!
Following Campvention, “Coupons for the Military” Chairs Ken and Sandy Kendall will package our coupons and forward them to the U. S. Army Garrison at Kaiserslautern, Germany.
As you likely know, stretching our dollars has become more difficult for all of us in recent years, and it has become more so for our military families, especially those stationed overseas. Unfortunately, manufacturers’ coupons are not readily available to troops and their families stationed overseas, so they need to rely on the kindness of others.
One way we can help is by saving expired or unused coupons and sending them to designated family support centers overseas that offer coupon exchanges. Overseas military commissaries, similar to our civilian grocery stores, accept manufacturers’ cents-off coupons for up to six months past their printed expiration dates. Military families also shop on base at their PX or BX, the military equivalent to our civilian department store. The Kendalls will separate the coupons into “food” and “non-food” categories and label the baggies of coupons, so that base volunteers get them to the appropriate venue more quickly.
A collection box for coupons will be placed in the central registration area at Campvention, for you to deposit your neatly-trimmed coupons. The Kendalls will also have a donation can available as well, for FCRVers’ contributions for shipping the coupons following Campvention. The cost per flat-rate priority mail box from the Postal Service is approximately $15. The Kendalls welcome donations for all or any part of that per-box rate.
In order to truly be of service, a few guidelines are offered:
- Military families stationed overseas can use coupons that state they are manufacturers’ coupons.
- Coupons from all sources, provided the magic words “manufacturers’ coupon” appear on them, can be used. These coupons include printable coupons, tear-pads, insert coupons, booklet coupons, grocery store dispensed coupons, etc.
- Military families stationed overseas cannot use store-specific coupons (eg., Walgreens, Target, Publix, etc.), restaurant coupons (eg, Olive Garden, Dairy Queen, Pizza Hut, Red Lobster, etc.), and local coupons (eg., coupons good at a local dry cleaner in your town).
- Cut and trim the sides of the coupons. This is helpful to receiving centers, but we also don’t want to pay additional postage for “dead weight.”
- Separate the coupons into two categories; food (for humans), and non-food (such as vitamins and dog or cat food), so they can be more easily placed in the correct venue upon arrival on base.
- Place your sorted coupons in baggies or envelopes and label the outside of each, either “food” or “non-food” coupons.
Our military families stationed overseas can use coupons that are expired up to six months past their expiration dates, however, they can also use any unexpired coupons you may have and are not using too! Another reminder comes from the OPC (Overseas Coupon Program) website: remember that the volunteers at the receiving military base need time to process the coupons once they arrive on base and get them out to be used by military families. In fact, OPC recommends not sending coupons older than 2 months expired on the date of shipment, to allow for processing time.
The Kendalls look forward to being inundated with coupons during Campvention week! If you have any questions regarding this service project, they may be reached at email@example.com.