Naomi Drive residents Scott and Sandra Fowler have seen charity from both sides. They haven’t forgotten.
“When the kids were young it wasn’t easy,” said Sandra Fowler, who recalled that food baskets from Ledyard Social Services more than once helped make her family’s holidays brighter. “If not for them, I don’t know how we would have done it.”
The Fowler’s two girls are in college now. With some free time on her hands, Sandra has discovered the joys of “couponing.” Her favorite website is CouponMom.com, and she said friends also have begun saving coupons for her.
In just a few months, she has become a something of a coupon expert, using coupons to obtain hundreds of brand-name products at little or no cost.
But instead of filling some garage or storage room with 800 bottles of ketchup, the Fowlers regularly bring their haul to the Ledyard Social Services Food Locker, where they know it will be distributed to grateful families in need.
This week the Fowlers brought hundreds of boxes of pancake mix and packages of instant potatoes to the food locker. They brought two tubs of Halloween candy (they also brought hundreds of tubes of toothpaste), along with boxes of breakfast cereal, even Transformer action figures for kids whose parents may not be able to afford such toys.
All of it obtained with the coupons Sandra collects online and from friends.
“Some people who coupon say they’re saving up for an emergency, but at the food shelter there’s someone who is having an emergency practically every day,” she said. “My mother used to say you only get back what you give away.”
“It’s just non-stop with that family,” said Social Services Assistant Director Doris Fonner. “They just want to give back.”
There will be two holiday basket distributions, including one for Thanksgiving on Monday, Nov. 21., and an Adopt-a-Family event on Wednesday, Dec. 21, at which toys and food baskets will be distributed.
Sandra said when her daughters return home for holiday break they will get busy preparing stockings for moms, each filled with items such as make-up, soaps and nail products, all obtained with coupons. She hopes to put together as many as 100 of the stockings to be given away on Dec. 21.
“There are always lots of toys for the kids, but this year we wanted to do something nice for the moms,” Sandra said.
Fonner said close to 80 local families are expected to receive food baskets, which will be easier to provide this year – thanks to the Fowlers.