Lauren Puryear, 29, has fed more than 5,000 on a shoestring budget through her knack of “extreme couponing.” But that’s not enough for her; her goal is to feed 30,000 meals to the hungry and homeless by the time she turns 30 next September 14. [1]

laurenpuryear
Source: ABC News

It’s a lofty, if not impossible-sounding, goal, but Puryear claims she can feed 150 people for as little as $20, depending on what she buys. She’s so good at couponing, she often gets money back. [2]

Said Puryear of helping others:

“It’s probably the most exhilarating thing I could ever do in life.”

The Woodbridge, Virginia, woman spends 5 to 10 hours a week looking for coupons, and gets friends and family involved by snipping vouchers and helping her shop. She said:

“Some stores have limits on how much you can buy, so sometimes I have to get my friends to come with me to buy it and bring their cars so we can transport it.”

For the Love of Savings

Puryear’s couponing craze began in 2012, after her grandmother, who instilled in her a heart of service, passed away. The desire to help others led Puryear to start an organization called For the Love of Others in her grandmother’s memory.

She said her first experience with couponing “was canned vegetables.” She said:

“I was able to get them for four cents a can at Dollar General so I bought 420 cans and I added chicken and rice to that meal. I figured if I could coupon for the vegetables I could coupon for everything.” [1]

The organization helps people in need through various community outreach events. One of those events involves purchasing and preparing food, and delivering it to people struggling with food insecurity.

Puryear, a mental health worker by profession, explained:

“I first research locations where there is a homeless population and then look at the laws to make sure I’m able to serve in public. And then I just go to the area and let people know I’m there.”

She went on:

“We try to be as social as possible and investing in them, sometimes they ask for prayer.”

Puryear hopes to pass along her skills and empathy to her 5-year-old son. She said she believes “it is very important to teach him to help other people.”  [2]

Food Insecurity

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said last week that food insecurity is declining, but many families still don’t know where their next meal will come from.

The agency reported that 15.8 million American households struggle with food insecurity. The numbers are partially based on a survey of 40,000 households nationwide.

foodinsecurity
Source: Hunger Solutions

There are several causes of food insecurity, but poverty is undeniably at the top of the list.

Unlike in many other countries, food insecurity in the United States often leads to obesity. Other areas of the world must consistently cope with a lack of food, while in the U.S., many families might have food, but it contains empty calories. Both scenarios are considered undernourishment and malnutrition. 

Read: Education, Access to Healthy Food is Key in Ending Junk “Food Deserts”

According to the non-for-profit organization Sustainable Table, one theory behind why food insecurity leads to obesity in the U.S. is because food insecurity can:

“…cause the sufferer to overeat in an attempt by the body to recoup missing calories. The type of food consumed in food insecure households may be another factor: high calorie food made from commodity crops (e.g., fast food and “junk” food) is often cheaper and easier to access than healthful food with high nutritional value.”

Sources:

[1] ABC News

[2] The Huffington Post

Hunger Solutions


Storable Food



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Post written byJulie Fidler:
Julie Fidler is a freelance writer, legal blogger, and the author of Adventures in Holy Matrimony: For Better or the Absolute Worst. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two ridiculously spoiled cats. She occasionally pontificates on her blog.