Lauren Puryear is about to turn 30. There’s a lot connoted with such a big birthday — but Puryear has anything but herself in mind. Her goal for her last year of her 20s? Feed 30,000 people. For anyone else, that would be a superhuman (not to mention crazy expensive) feat, but Puryear has a secret up her sleeve — extreme couponing.
“After I couponed for 50 jars of Ragu sauce and 100 boxes of Barilla pasta all for free, I knew I was going to make a difference in the world,” she told Scary Mommy.
What started as a “small-scale” coupon project, which involved delivering 5,000 meals to people in New Jersey, Washington D.C., Baltimore and the surrounding areas last year, grew after Puryear realized that she could expand her couponing practice. Her 30th birthday isn’t until September 2017 — but she’s already hit that magic 30,000.
Puryear may be the mastermind behind the couponing, but she doesn’t do this alone. She launched the organization For Love of Others, which mobilizes volunteers along the eastern seaboard to provide residents without homes, those in shelters and other human service programs, with food and life essentials — including uncooked meals for family dinner and weekend meal bags for children in school.
Perhaps Puryear’s greatest volunteer is her six-year-old son, who, alongside his mom, works to feed the hungry. “He’s really grown into such a little humanitarian,” she said. “I hope he’ll continue to help others throughout his life however he sees fit. He also learned how to coupon, which he loves.”
During her humanitarian work, Puryear realized that For Love of Others was also helping a less visible demographic. “We were also providing meals for the everyday working American who is living at or below the poverty line,” she explained to Scary Mommy. “I am starting a new initiative called Push Past Poverty, where I will aim to educate those in need on how to rise above the poverty line by utilizing community resources, coupons and other tools.”
As Puryear’s humanitarian work expands, so do her goals. “I will keep on feeding until [my 30th birthday] and see what number I can get up to,” she said. “Maybe 300,000!” The way Puryear sees it, couponing to feed struggling families is a part of her family legacy — and she’s just doing her part to keep paying it forward. “[My grandmother] always taught us to help other people and to love other people,” she said. “I know that she would want me to carry on her legacy.”