FLINT — In these challenging economic times, many have jumped on the coupon craze to cut grocery costs and further stretch household budgets. In addition to families saving money, Catholic Charities also is reaping the benefits, as savvy coupon shoppers donate excess items to the Community Closet, a Catholic Charities program that distributes toiletries, clothing and household goods to those in need in Genesee County.
Many coupon shoppers combine in-store coupons, double coupons as well as sales to get low cost and often free items, such as toothpaste, shampoo, laundry soap and deodorant. These shoppers will stockpile enough items for their families to use for months and will often donate extra items to charity.
“We had a woman back up her minivan to our Community Closet and unload a whole back seat full of toothpaste that she had gotten completely free with coupons. It was amazing,” said Vicky Schultz, president and CEO of Catholic Charities. “We welcome any coupon clippers who would like to use their bargain hunting talents to help those in need.”
With the current economic situation, more people are seeking these services than ever before.
“The response to our Community Closet has been overwhelming,” said Jon K. Manse, director of community services at Catholic Charities. “There are so many children and families who are going without basic need items. With such a demand, it’s hard to keep the shelves stocked.”
Last year alone, the Community Closet served more than 14,000 Genesee County residents and distributed in excess of 47,000 items.
“Many of the people we serve have never asked for assistance before,” said Manse. “With a slow economy and unemployment rates so high, they have just hit hard times and need a hand up.”
Catholic Charities’ Community Closet is in urgent need of bar and hand soap, laundry soap, toilet paper, toothpaste and diapers, but is also seeking other toiletries such as shampoo, feminine products and deodorant, as well as lotion and dish soap. Monetary contributions also are welcome and all gifts are tax deductible.
Items can be dropped off 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Community Closet, 517 E. Fifth Ave. For more information, contact Catholic Charities’ community services at (810) 785-6911 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.