Fox 12-14-14 TVDid you catch our Savings Segment this morning on Fox?  We are honored to be a featured on Good Day Tampa Bay each Sunday to share our knowledge about coupons and how to get the most for your money!  This week’s topic was all about the gifts you can give this holiday season that give back!

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Right now in the Tampa Bay Area, 1 in 6 in is “food insecure”. That means they don’t know where their next meal will come from. It has been reported in a 2014 hunger study that 75% of individuals served by food pantries report having to choose between paying for food and pay utilities.  In addition, 67% must choose between paying for food and paying for medicine.  One surprising fact though, is that food insecurity is NOT a homeless issue.  An astounding 94% of those that need help either own or rent their home. It is just a challenge right now to make ends meet. We have some great ideas on how you can help this holiday!

How about Give One & Give One – As you are shopping, look to purchase gifts from companies that have teamed up with charities who are spreading blessings with each purchase. For example, TOMS Shoes will donate a pair of shoes to a needy child with each pair you purchase for yourself! “Pair” that with a sale and a coupon and your wallet will be happy too! Another company, WestElm.com has a whole line of kitchen goods that will donate several meals with each purchase! The West Elm FEED Aprons that will send 14 meals are just $29 and shipping is FREE. That’ll make a difference for sure!

Who Do You trust? As you look at charities to support, the website CharityNavigator.org has ranked over 8,000 charities and suggests that a charity should spend around 75% of their budget on programs and services, 15% on administration and 10% on fundraising. I looked up several in our area to see how they ranked.  A few good ones that I’ve already been working with that received 4 Stars were Metropolitan Ministries, ECHO, and Lighthouse Ministries.

The Gift IS the Giving – One year my aunt sent money to a charity that provided food for those less fortunate.  In return that organization sent us little ornaments of goats and chickens to represent what those people will get to eat because of our willingness to sacrifice our gift for the year and help them instead. The kids love to hang those ornaments on the tree each year and discuss the season of giving. FoodForTheHungry and WorldVision are two examples of companies that you can make a donation to in someone’s name as a gift.

Volunteer All Year – While the desire to provide meals for the less fortunate may seem strongest during the holidays as we enjoy feasts of our own, the need is the same throughout the year. Make a New Year’s resolution to donate your time helping a charity of your choosing! We love to help out with Feed The Bay. It’s coming up next year on March 15, 2015 so as soon as the new year starts, we start filling a bin with shelf stable donation items. It is easy to give when you spend next to nothing on your groceries!

Forget the gifts that keep on giving; go for the gifts that give twice – with proceeds going to a worthy cause!

~Happy Giving All Year Long!

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