While some choose to throw away old and expired coupons, a group of residents at Splendido at Rancho Vistoso have been snipping, stuffing and sending coupons to military personnel overseas.
Since last May, the group has met once a month and collected and sent a total of 75 pounds of coupons for soldiers to use in their commissaries, seeing as soldiers can use manufacturers’ coupons up to six months after they have expired.
The residents of Splendido make sure the coupons are organized by category, which range from personal hygiene to health and from paper needs to pet needs.
Resident and group organizer Gisela Petzold read in a newspaper how soldiers could use coupons that are expired and decided to assemble a group whose members could help her with her project.
“We want to help the military families save some money,” Petzold said. “I feel strongly that we need to help.”
On the second Wednesday of each month, Petzold and a group of others sit around a large table and clip away. Some snip quickly and quietly, while others talk and socialize. Together, the group cuts out and sends about two pounds of coupons to each service members located at various bases and camps around the world.
Petzold takes special care to divvy the coupons equally among the many different camps that are in need of coupons.
Group members willingly volunteer their time and efforts with little thoughts of reward. However, Petzold likes it best when she gets a reply. She mentioned receiving a letter from a base in Germany saying, “thanks,” and letting her know that they received the package of coupons the women sent.
“When we get something like that, that’s what makes it worth while,” she shared.
Coupons aren’t the only items that residents at Splendido collect to help those in need.
Other volunteer projects include collecting pens and pencils for kids, and kitchenware for abused women and homeless people moving into new homes.
They also write letters thanking veterans for their service, and collect shoes, socks and toiletries for the homeless.
In addition, the residents at Splendido collected their unwanted jewelry, and then donated it to second-graders at a local elementary school so the kids could have something to give to their mothers for Mother’s Day.
Julia Zahn, the president of Splendido’s residents’ council, organizes all of its donations and volunteer programs, including the collection of older jewelry.
“It was stuff you bought on trips and you thought you would wear, but never did,” Zahn said. “Women lost interest in it, or had more than what they needed, and they were eager to contribute.”
The residents were able to collect more than 170 pieces of jewelry, which they cleaned and placed into jewelry boxes for the second-graders. The students then made Mother’s Day cards and tied them to the jewelry boxes.
“It’s fun,” Zahn said. “The residents get more out of it, I think, than the recipients.”