Sixteen ladies volunteer on a weekly basis for a program that is more than 12-years-old. They are the Weld Food Bank Coupon Program Volunteers. Some of these volunteers have been working with the program since it began in July of 1986. With dedication and hard work by their volunteers, most of whom are senior citizens, they had 52,547 coupons returned and raised a total of $32,118.77 in 1998. Each dollar raised allows the Weld Food Bank to distribute $17.00 worth of food.
The Weld volunteers collect coupons for a discount on grocery items from newspapers and other sources. They cut and trim the coupons, sort by product, by expiration date, and by grocery store aisle. Next, the coupons are folded and stapled to a message about the food bank, and then attached to products at the grocery store. The next step is for cashiers in the store to remove the coupons as they come through the checkout counter. They are put into cans near the registers and collected by volunteers. After being returned to the food bank, volunteers unstaple and sort the coupons by size to enable the volunteer coordinator to add them up easier. After being added, the coupons are returned to the grocery store where a check is cut for the program.
The volunteers who were involved in the beginning stages of this program helped to design the program and have helped to modify it to continue to make it viable. As the program has aged, it has grown. The ladies continue to seek ways to make it run more smoothly and have implemented many changes over the years. They have established good rapport with the grocery store and its employees, and often leave the shelves in better order than they found them. Over the years, they have worked with many agencies, churches, associations, retirement homes, and interested individuals to collect and turn in their unused coupons.
To meet their budget and be able to distribute more than 30 tons of food to the needy each week, the food bank must raise more than $150,000 through fund raising activities. This program provides much needed funds to allow Weld Food Bank, whose mission is to help alleviate hunger and prevent food waste with community help, to continually meet the demand for food in Weld County, CO.
The ladies in the coupon program are a definite help in meeting that goal. More food must be purchased each year in order to provide nutritionally balanced food boxes. This coupon program is a steady source of revenue that can be counted on when preparing a budget. In 1998, 10,282 emergency food boxes were distributed and more than 14,000 families served.