Texas Woman Takes Extreme Couponing to a New Level to Help Hurricane Survivors
"I was looking at everything under water, and knew I had to do something."
Clipping coupons, for most shoppers, is a way to save money on groceries and household essentials. But one San Antonio, Texas, woman is putting her extreme-couponing habit to good use, buying necessities on the cheap for families that were affected by Hurricane Harvey.
When Harvey plowed through southeast Texas in late August, Kimberly Gager understood what the families were facing after the storm. The 39-year-old experienced that same sense of loss when her home in Newport News, Virginia, was destroyed by Hurricane Floyd in 1999. She didn't want anyone else to have to experience what it's like to lose everything. So she began stocking up on supplies, like diapers, baby wipes, baby food, shampoo, toilet paper, detergent, and other personal hygiene products in her garage.
"I was looking at all the stories and pictures of houses and everything under water in Harvey, and knew I had to do something," Gager told ABC News.
Instead of throwing away the baby supply coupons like she usually does, Gager decided to use those coupons to assist the families who have newborns and younger children.
According to Gager, she's assisted nearly 30 different groups and families. Once the storm subsided, she also began delivering the emergency stockpile to displaced residents. One of those on the receiving end of Gager's supply stash was Bridget Martinez, a mother of five from Ingleside, Texas, who is currently living in a hotel. Martinez was "blown away" by Gager's compassion, and the amount of items she was able to obtain from her.
"I looked her [Gager] up on Facebook, sent her a message, and she responded right away," said 30-year-old Martinez, fighting back tears. "Two hours later, here she is. These are necessities that we don't have the cash for right now. I've gone to a church for help, but we didn't get as much there. I'm completely grateful. I hope God blesses her in every way possible."
Once news spread of Gager's good deeds, community members started making monetary donations for Gager to purchase more products.
"As long as the donations keep coming, I'll keep buying," Gager wrote on Facebook.
Now, she's hoping she'll be able to lend a helping hand to those Irma survivors who need food, water, and baby supplies.
"I don't plan to cut it off until I know that people are okay," said Gager. "Something as small as a bottle of body wash, stick of deodorant, or a tube of toothpaste—I know how that felt during Hurricane Floyd, and people are so grateful for that."
We're grateful for people like Gager who are showing their humility, one act of kindness at a time. Here's how you can help in the aftermath of these two devastations across the South.