Don't toss out those expired manufacturer coupons, send them to those in the armed forces! Military families who are stationed overseas can use them at their base commissary and PX. The coupons can be used up to 6 months after the expiration date. These otherwise useless coupons can help our soldiers and army wives save money.
Here's how the Overseas Coupon Program (OCP) works. The OCP used to be a non-profit organization, but lost their Federal tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization status when Congress increased military pay to rise above poverty level. The program itself, however, didn't go away. It is now ran completely by volunteers who give of their own time and money to keep the process going, and they depend on ordinary citizens to provide the coupons out of the patriotic goodness of their heart.
If you want to help, it's a good idea to go to the OCP website and read their participation guidelines. Following the guidelines will help the volunteers by speeding up the process of getting the coupons into the hands of those in need. Simple things such as clipping them out of the circulars instead of sending the entire circular, sorting them into Food and Non-Food categories, tallying up the total dollar amount sent, putting them in baggies or envelopes to keep them separated during transit, and adhering to certain shipping methods.
The coupons will be sent directly to the American military overseas base you choose to adopt. A list of bases can be found on their website. You will find the mailing address / location / affiliation for each base, as well as a list of names of donors who have already adopted the base. Some have more donors than others, and some are marked "yes please adopt us". The OCP asks that you email them with the name of the base you want to adopt, along with certain identifying information about yourself or your organization.
There is no minimum donation size, but it's up to the individual sending the coupons to pay for postage. So unless you are sending large quantities and can justify the use of a flat rate mailer, parcel post is most likely the cheapest shipping method. Keep in mind that parcel post takes longer to reach the destination than a flat rate priority mailer, so make sure the coupons are not more than two months past the expiration date if sending by parcel post. Note that you will have to fill out a customs form 2976-A for mailing overseas, and need to mark "coupons" as the description, list dollar value as $0.00, and check the box marked "gift".
Once you get the hang of it, you will see that sending our expired coupons to military families is an easy way to help our soldiers save money and stretch their budget. It's a small way for us to give a little something back to the men and women who are fighting for our country and freedom.