LAKE WYLIE — Good Samaritan United Methodist Church is hard at works saving more than souls.
After watching an episode of television’s “Extreme Couponing,” Good Samaritan UMC Pastor Jason Everson hatched an idea: “Wouldn’t it be cool if we could do that?”
Since members started collecting coupons and shopping every other week in January 2012, Good Samaritan has been able to provide $4,000 worth of supplies such as food and hygiene products last year to local organizations, including Clover Area Assistance Center, Palmetto Pregnancy Center and York Place.
The catch: It costs the church only about $1,500.
“We get roughly 60 percent savings every week,” Everson said. “What I really like is it’s name brand stuff. Stuff we take for granted.”
For example, one week, thanks to Progressive soup sale and coupons, the group purchased 60 cans of soup for $15.
“It’s been cool to see what they have needed has been on sale, too,” Everson said, explaining sometimes CAAC has a special call out for soup or cereal.
Sara Howard, who helps with the coupon ministry, said excitedly during the last Saturday shop, “Wait until you see the total and how much we save.”
The total: $497. The savings after sales and thanks to coupons: $212.03.
“I love deals any time, so to be able to get these things and help our community, it’s like a double bonus,” she said.
Everson said while the entire congregation brings in their weekly Sunday newspaper coupons, about eight people volunteer to sift through the coupons and check links like couponmom.com to see what’s on sale and what matches up.
“It’s not a huge operation but it’s something we could do and it’s easy,” Everson said. “It’s not life-changing but it’s about being part of our community.
“We’re only limited by the number of coupons we have,” Everson said.
The group meets every other Saturday at about 8 a.m. to sort and then shop at Bi-Lo in Lake Wylie, “because they give us the best deals.”
Shannon Suddreth, who leads the coupon ministry, explained Bi-Lo is ideal because of the double manufacture coupon offer every day. In fact, she said when she took a pay decrease, she, too, started looking for ways to save.
“I not only need to save money myself, but I can help bless our community,” she said.
Suddreth welcomes the community to volunteer, too, and learn about coupon savings.
“We welcome people to help us,” she said, “We can show you the ins and outs of using coupons, so you can save money yourself and you can help the community.”
Plus, Howard said, it’s a nice way to volunteer and “do my good deed,” and it only takes about two hours. Suddreth said another spinoff ministry has started,, too, providing coupons to US Troops to use at the PX, because they can use coupons that have expired up to six months.
“We try not to waste any of it,” Suddreth said. “The most valuable thing I can give is time, and if that is what God is asking me to give that’s what I’m going to do,” she said.
Neither Everson or wife Joselyn are coupon cutters themselves.