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One Woman's
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Behind The Song:
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What Made
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Choosing to Matter

Clipping Coupons
for Charities

DJ's Community
Activism Remembered

New Stage Production
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the Fall 2003 Issue


Clipping Coupons for Charities

by Mike Grayeb

In our Spring 2004 issue of Circle!, we featured a "Fan Fare" story on Harry Nydick, a Chapin fan who has found a way to make a difference by using coupons from local newspapers and grocery store circulars to buy food and other much needed items for a local food bank at little or no cost.

The story proved to be very intriguing for many readers who wrote to us inquiring about how they could implement a similar approach to "doing something."

So we reconnected with Nydick to get some tips that could help readers get started in becoming "master coupon clippers."

Nydick said there are many creative ways to turn coupons into valuable donations. "The first thing people must get used to doing is finding and getting extra coupons and keeping them in a way that makes them readily available," he said. "These ideas are critical whether they are shopping only for themselves or are also getting food for the food banks."

Here are some additional tips Nydick provided:

1. Set up a coupon trading club with friends and neighbors

2. Visit the local library. Most have a coupon exchange, where you can take all of the coupons you receive but do not want, and can trade them for coupons of interest. Nydick said his father used to leave more coupons at the library than he took home. However, he would empty the library's supply and leave his own. Then, he would sort through those he got at the library, only to return (on his next trip) those he didn't need or want plus a new supply from himself.

3. Ask friends, neighbors and relatives who do not use coupons to merely save their coupon sections for you. Nydick estimates that 90 percent of coupons distributed are never used. "The most common excuse I hear is, 'I just don't have the time,' he said. "Well, if someone makes $15 per hour at his/her job, but (by not using coupons) spends $35 too much at the store, then that person worked 2 hours and 20 minutes, after tax, for nothing."

4. Think about and keep an eye out for new ways to gather and use the coupons, and share those ideas with others.

Want to contact Nydick to learn more or share your ideas? Drop him a line at Please be patient in waiting for a response.

Watch for the Next Issue of Circle! on September 7