A woman from Woodbridge, Virginia said she aims to feed 30,000 people by her birthday by using coupons.
Single mom Lauren Puryear was first drawn to feeding people when she saw a “tent city” for the homeless in her town. She approached the people living in the area and asked them what they needed.
They had one answer: food.
The 29-year-old then started to give them food, such as Thanksgiving meals. But inspiration struck when she discovered a way to use coupons to purchase 425 cans of vegetables. Couponing allowed her to buy each can at four cents each.
“I paid $1.70 for all of them. They were stacked up in my apartment floor to ceiling,” she said.
She distributed the cans to the people. She then prepared a hot meal of baked chicken and vegetable and fed 300 more.
There were touching moments when people came up to her and thanked her. One such instance was when a veteran in his late forties stopped to thank her before walking away with the serving of food she was distributing.
“He said, ‘Thank you so much, this is the first meal I’ve had in three days,'” Puryear recounted.
She discovered he had divorced in the midst of his battle with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Puryear is determined to feed more people. However, she was also bent on remaining debt-free. Some people help with the program by giving cash donations, and she shoulders some of the expenses. Couponing has allowed her to buy food for a cheaper price.
“Couponing knocks the price down tremendously,” she said. “I coupon so that I don’t have to spend my salary as a single mom.”
Through couponing, she was able to give away 1,200 hotdogs, which she bought at $1 per pack. For each pack she bought, the store gave her a credit of 10 cents, which she used to buy the buns and condiments.
She fed more than 1,000 people recently when she celebrated her birthday. The experience, as she described it, was “the most awesome feeling next to childbirth.”
However, her heart still breaks when she sees people out there needing food. So she keeps on setting goals to feed more. Her next target is to distribute “good hearty meals” to 1,500 people.
Puryear makes sure that she gives away freshly cooked, hot meals. Some people help her to do this, including her five-year-old son, who helps load the food into the car and hand them out to the people, and checks if all volunteers are wearing gloves.
Puryear founded For the Love of Others, “an organization that seeks to empower, enrich and enhance the lives of people from all backgrounds through providing opportunities to enable them to live a purposeful life.”
The organization’s name and purpose are based on John 13:34-35.
Puryear’s goal is to feed 30,000 people by the time she celebrates her 30th birthday next year. And when meets that goal, she will simply set another.