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Friday, January 21, 2011

5-2 Ministry's Smart Coupon Strategies Help Area Needy

I talked to Becky Hill about the 5-2 (Coupon) Ministry, which helps the Southeast Gwinnett Cooperative Ministry. The coupon group works to match coupons with the best deals at stores to help provide more food for the food bank's clients by savvy shopping.

What does the 5-2 Ministry do, and how does it help our local food bank, the Southeast Gwinnett Cooperative Ministry?

The 5-2 Ministry is a great option for anyone who may want to contribute to the food bank but may not have time to shop or know exactly what is needed.

Because we average a 63% savings on our purchases through the couponing strategies we utilize, a $10 donation will provide $30 worth of food to
families in need. This is why we feel like the name of our ministry is so appropriate: as in the miracle of the 5 loaves and 2 fish which Jesus performed in Matthew 14, we are grateful to accept whatever people have to offer, ask God to bless it and multiply it, and use it to feed many.

How does the system work?

The coupons are divided up between 4 - 6 shoppers (depending upon the quantity we have to buy that particular week) and the final shopping lists are compiled.  On Tuesday morning, I have the lists available for all of the shoppers and they just come by my house and pick them up at their convenience and take them to complete their purchases.  Each shopper delivers their items to the Southeast Gwinnett Cooperative Ministry after they shop, then turns in their receipts so that we can tally up all of the items and calculate the amount spent (and the FUN part....the amount SAVED) each week.  It's a system that has evolved little by little over the course of the past year, but I think we have it pretty fine-tuned now and everything is running quite well! God has blessed us tremendously, and it is an exciting thing to be a part of!

How can people get involved if they want to help?

The way we are organized at this point, most of our volunteers are members of Snellville United Methodist Church. We do welcome others to join us; however, our hope is to encourage others to start a branch of 5-2 Ministry within their own church or community organization so that our efforts can be expanded and more people can be served. If there are people who would like to do that, or who would like to volunteer to help in our efforts at Snellville United Methodist Church, I would welcome their inquiries so that I can talk to them about that. They can email me at, post to our Facebook page, or comment on our blog at

Can I donate my grocery coupons?

We encourage people to donate coupon inserts from the Sunday paper each week or to make financial contributions. Either of these may be dropped off at the Southeast Gwinnett Cooperative Ministry and they will be forwarded along to us.

It is very important that people know not to pre-clip their coupons. Many people think that they are helping us by doing this, but it actually makes it much harder to locate the particular coupons we need in any given week if they are already clipped.

When donating coupons, the best thing for people to do is to go ahead and clip whatever coupons they would like to have for their own personal use, and then leave the rest of the coupon flier intact, deliver it to the food bank, and specify that it is for 5-2 Ministry. I stop by the food bank once a week to pick these up.

I like this idea, but I don't really get many coupons. How do I donate money specifically for the 5-2 Ministry?

If anyone would like to make a financial contribution, that may also be mailed or dropped off at the food bank; checks should be made payable to Southeast Gwinnett Cooperative Ministry, with "5-2 Ministry" indicated on the memo line.

How successful has the 5-2 Ministry been?

Since its inception in November of 2009, the 5-2 Ministry has been able to donate over 15,000 items to the food bank and assist many families.

How can I get more information?

For more information about the 5-2 Ministry, e-mail Becky Hill at, or comment on the group's blog at

To learn more about the Southeast Gwinnett Cooperative Ministry, visit

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