Thursday, January 31, 2008

Donate for Free!

If you are like my family, you know the importance of donating your money and time to non- profits and charities that you hold dear to your heart. Whether it be church, a missionary, the American Cancer Society, a local homeless doesn't matter. Donations are important to these organizations and people. And the benefits you reap from contributing are important, too. Not only does it make you feel wonderful to help others, it also allows you to meet others with your same passions and ideals. You can make wonderful friendships through volunteering and contributing.

With that said, we all know the "standard" ways of donating. You can pay money to the charity of your choice. Or, you can sign up to work and spend time with hands on tasks. Both are equally rewarding and I encourage. But, there is also a third way that most people forget. There are the "freebie" contributions through large companies.

I know almost all of you have heard of the Box Tops for Education program. But, do you use it? If you are a mother or father of a school age child, I am sure you probably do. Your education department probably collects them. But, what about those of you who have young children? What about those of you don't have children or are retired? Do you collect and contribute? You should.

First, it is free. I do not suggest you buy particular items simply to get the box tops. But, if you are unloading your groceries and notice a box top, cut it off immediately ( if possible ) and store in a ziplock bag in a safe spot. No matter where you live, if in the USA, you are paying taxes for your school system. And, the value of your school system ultimately affects the value of your home. So, you should want your schools to flourish. Once a month, when passing by one of your local schools, drop it off. Or, mail it in. They are valued at 10 cents each.

In a given month, I usually average $1.00 to $4.00. Today, I sent mine in with my son, and I had $1.40. It sounds like nothing, but his school has 1,000 kindergarteners and 1st graders in it. If each parent sent in that amount today, the school would have gotten $1,400 in one day!! One day! If everyone sent only 1 in ( 10 cents each ), the school would have gotten at least $100!!! And, if all of you out there who don't have kids in the school system were actually cutting them out instead of throwing them away, well, my gosh....I don't even want to think what the school would get each month. It would be staggering! My school's goal for the whole year is only $500!! That is nothing compared to what could be achieved. That right there tells me too many people are throwing this valuable money away. Click here to see a complete list of participating products.

On top of that, if you are shopping online and you didn't find the store you needed at BigCrumbs ( click to read my write up on this company ), try setting up an account at BoxTops and shopping through them. The school of your choice will get a percentage of your purchase donated to them.
Well, you thought I was done. I am not. Here are other great companies that contribute, and I ask that you cut these out each month and donate them, too.

Campbell's Labels for Education ( point per label that the school redeems for equipment )
School Spirit Sunbeam Bread Products ( Labels are worth 5 cents )

What about your local grocery store? Our Bigg's collects receipts and gives the school or other charity back a percentage of all receipts collected. Our Kroger's gives the charity of your choice 4% of your purchases! 4%!!! That could be huge, if everyone chose to do this. All I have to do is load money onto my charity card ( I usually estimate and have them swipe my charity card first ) then pay for that. Then, in a seperate transaction, they ring my groceries and I pay for it with the card I just loaded. If my grocery bill is a little over, I pay the overage. If it is under, I save the extra on my charity card to pay for next weeks groceries. Currently, I have a Kroger card for my son's school, my Moms Club, and my Realy for Life American Cancer Society team.
Do you have a Target card? If so, make sure to link it to a local school today!! They also give a percentage of your purchase to education.

So, please, ask your local grocery store if they have a charity program. If they do, and you don't have a charity in mind, ask for a list and find a charity you would be happy supporting. Someone should get the benefit from your grocery purchases!
And, finally, if you drink pop from a can, save that pop top. Collect them and then call the Ronald McDonald house and support the home away from home program for seriously ill children. If you don't see the phone number on the link I listed, just click the Back a Page Button at the top of that site. They collect and recycle these. Last year they raised $30,000 from recycling pop tops...wouldn't it be nice if we could help them raise even more???
I hope you take seriously the difference you can make in your community by investing very little of your time.
And, to give you a little idea of what my house alone has contributed just in January? $22.45 in Box Tops and Grocery Store purchases, 10 Campbell Labels, and 30 Pop Tops ( these I have been collecting for a while ).
And, I do ask, if you know of any other great "freebie" donations, please let me know. I will gladly add it the list above!
Updated 2/5/08: Donate expired coupons to the military! Read my article here or go directly to the Overseas Coupon Program


Caro said...

If you don't want to drop these off at a school, find your nearest parent (of a school age kid) that you see on a somewhat regular basis (work, church, golf course, neighborhood, etc.) and give the box tops to them. If they don't collect them already, they should, and you can encourage them to do so while at the same time finding an easy avenue for sending in your boxtops.

The expirations on those are quite far out usually, so I usually send mine off 3-4 times a year. Don't feel rushed, just do it.

They are in some unexpected places too, like on the bottom of Kleenex boxes and on Huggies diapers (for those new parents in the crowd), so watch for them!

Carrie Marie said...

Thanks Caro. You are absolutely right. They do show up on products you wouldn't even think about.
Garbage bags, diapers & kleenex ( like you mentioned ), etc
For those of you who eat from the "Natural" aisle at the grocery store, look at those cereal boxes, too. Cascadian ( spelling? ) has them as well.
And, with the Campbell's, it is not just the soup. I had bought Pepperidge Farm Goldfish for my daughters preschool, and those labels also count.
And, them to a friend who collects them for their school is also a great idea!