I spent the first 2.5 hours of my day in a very bad/self defeating mood. It started with stepping on the scale (never a good thing) and proceeded into everything else. Knowing that I was in a mood to eat something I shouldn't (and move the scale the wrong way again!), I decided instead to swing by Starbucks for a green tea. That's when my morning changed completely.
Sitting outside of Starbucks was a woman. I'm still not sure of her age, beyond an adult. She sat out front with 3 bags and a few other things. She had dirty, oversized clothes and a beanie-style hat pulled down over her eyes. She just sat there, in the 50 degree weather. And I knew in my spirit that she was homeless.
I ended up buying her a coffee and she gave me a lot of perspective.
I have been blessed by God. I have a warm apartment. I'm sitting in this apartment with my 3 year old daughter, listening to music playing from a high def TV over the Internet. I started a load of laundry that I don't have to wash by hand, because my washing machine does all the work. I have been texting my husband through a cell phone that has basically become command central for me since it has Internet capability. My cupboards have plenty of food and I have enough in my pantry to know that we won't run out of basic supplies like deodorant and shampoo for quite a while. My home is full of things that make my life easier and comfortable.
This woman has 3 bags and a few extra items.
Did you know that coupons can help women like her? I'm sure you're shaking your head at me, saying "But she doesn't have any money, what good will coupons do for her?". Well, yeah, there is an extra step. You have to use the coupons, your time and your money.
It's not hard to find many household goods free or very cheap. You can also find quite a bit of food cheap or free with coupons. Last week, for example, Ralph's had free pasta. What if you took that free pasta and gave it to a homeless shelter or food pantry? Even if you don't eat "that type of food", I promise you that those in need probably won't be so picky.
Many weeks you can get toothpaste for $0.50 or free. Homeless shelters and food pantries will take both of these too, since it's a basic hygiene item.
There are a lot of people out there in need. Not just in third-world countries halfway across the globe, but also in your neighborhood. Some of them will be the homeless you see on the streets and some will be people you see everyday, looking like a regular family, but can't make ends meet. You have a chance to help them. You can give out of the excess you have. When you see toothpaste for free, make a trip to the store and pick up a couple. I bet someone else would love to have them. Find a deal where you can get canned goods for less than $0.50? Grab a bunch and give them to a group that can use them.
You have the tools to help them. Help, make a difference and change the world, one coupon at a time.