I use a lot of coupons to save money on my household budget, but I also find that at the end of the month I have a lot of unused coupons that have expired. I usually just toss them in the trash, but I just recently found out about a wonderful organization that helps military families by distributing expired coupons to the bases overseas. The Overseas Coupon Project (OCP) was founded in 1992 by Army wife, Becky Thane. She realized they and other families on base were trying to make ends meet on a very small salary. If they were living in the states their income would qualify for Food Stamps, WIC, and other assistance; however, these programs are not offered overseas to military families.
She knew that military commissaries overseas would accept manufacturer's cents-off coupons for up to six months past their printed expiration dates, so she decide to help by sending expired coupons to her former post. Before long, the word quickly spread and she was able to get other military posts overseas to agree to distribute any coupons she could send.
Congress has since raised active duty military pay so that the vast majority of active duty service families now live above the Federal poverty level; however, OCP is still committed to helping the military families stretch their still tight budgets.
To help these military service families who are serving our country overseas, all you have to do is gather any of your unwanted current or expired coupons that are not expired more than two months and send them to a base overseas. There is no minimum; even the smallest donation will help when combined with other donations.
To get started, visit the OCP website and click on Base Adoptions to adopt a base that you would like to mail your coupons to. After choosing a base, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org to let them know you are participating.
Once you have your coupons ready to send, just drop the envelope in the mail. Since the envelope is shipped to an APO/AFO address it doesn't cost any more to send than sending it to any other address in the U.S.
The coupons are handed out to military members or placed in the PX or Commissary for use to any family that wants them.
In 2009 $2, 073, 947.68 worth of coupons was distributed to bases all over the world. It's a wonderful way to give a little back to our service families for just a little time and a few cents.