Lauren Puryear spent hours each week clipping coupons and then buying, cooking, and delivering food.
How did you spend your 30th birthday? I spent mine in a downtown Manhattan bar doing shots with a bunch of my friends. It was fun—at least what I remember of it. But cancer survivor Lauren Puryear came up with a decidedly more generous and grown-up way to celebrate her entry into decade number three. Last year, when she turned 29, she pledged to feed 30,000 people before her 30th birthday—and she vowed to do it by using coupons.
"I came up with this idea because I always knew I wanted to help other people," Lauren explained on a recent appearance on "Good Morning America". "Once I was introduced to couponing, I knew this was going to be my golden ticket to be able to feed hundreds upon thousands of people."
Sounds like a heady task, right? But that didn't stop this determined mom—who said the key to conquering the world of extreme couponing is to be patient and follow the rules—from spending the last several months delivering food to homeless residents, shelters, and other human service programs with the help of her organization For the Love of Others, which she launched to provide food and other essentials to the homeless population.
"We coupon together, we cook the food together, we go out and serve together," she explained. "It's awesome!"
Even her 6-year-old son Isaiah got in on the action:
What an amazing role model you are, Mama! And get this: While Lauren has already accomplished her mission of delivering those 30K meals before her 30th birthday—the big day doesn't arrive until September!—she says she's not finished helping others just yet.
"Although we have met our goal, our work is not done," she said in a video she posted last week on the For the Love of Others Facebook page. "In my travels, I experienced more need than just hunger. So our new initiative, Push Past Poverty, will bring awareness to other issues, such as the millions of Americans who are living at or below the poverty line."
"The feeling of reaching our goal is indescribable!" Lauren told Parents.com. "I am overwhelmed with joy and eager to continue working. While in my travels during the #30kby30 campaign, I learned that hungry doesn't always mean homeless. There were many families, working adults, and college students who needed meals and didn't have the funding to get it on their own. I want to help them by not only teaching them how to coupon but also by providing resources to them, educating them on federal programs available to them, and more. While I am grateful for the ability to utilize my couponing skills for a good cause, I want to do more now. I want to eradicate world hunger.”
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Way to go, Lauren! Amazing work, amazing heart, amazing inspiration!
Hollee Actman Becker is a freelance writer, blogger, and mom of two who writes about parenting and pop culture. Check out her website holleeactmanbecker.com for more, and then follow her on Instagram and Twitter.