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La Mirada Residents Clip Coupons for Military Members Overseas

By Rico Dizon

You wouldn’t expect people living in Okinawa, Japan, to know about The Palms Senior Living Community in La Mirada, California.
But for military members and their families stationed at the U.S. Army Base in Okinawa, the residents at The Palms play a vital role in helping to keep their grocery bills and other expenses affordable as they serve our country overseas.

Since July 2011, Edna Gaarde and 20 other residents at The Palms have supported military members in Okinawa by clipping coupons for groceries and other products and mailing them to the Army base each month. Service members and their families use the coupons to purchase goods at the base’s commissary and post exchange (PX) store.

To date, the group has sent approximately $300,000 worth of coupons to the base.

“We were introduced to the Overseas Coupon Program by a fellow resident,” says Gaarde, who also represents The Palms on the La Mirada Senior Council. “After reviewing available military bases in need of coupons, we selected the Army base in Okinawa.”

The Overseas Coupon Program (OCP) is a nationwide, all-volunteer charity program that helps military families serving overseas pay for food and everyday products. Coupons help military families overseas save valuable dollars and stretch their budgets.

“We’ve received letters from Army wives and their children telling us about the high-cost of living overseas during deployment and thanking us for sending the coupons,” says Gaarde. “They rely on the savings these coupons provide and really appreciate our efforts.”

Gaarde and the other members of her group meet every Monday at 9:30 a.m. in the recreation room at The Palms and clip coupons they have collected. They send four large envelopes filled with thousands of dollars worth of coupons to the base every month.

The La Mirada Senior Council also supports the effort by collecting coupons for the group.

Gaarde says a couple of other people throughout the La Mirada also send the group coupons by dropping them off at a collection box located near the entrance inside The Palms.

“We welcome coupon donations and encourage other people to look into the program,” she adds. “The service members appreciate it and it’s a good way to show our appreciation for them.”

Military commissaries accept coupons up to six months past their expiration date. Visit ocpnet.org to learn more about the Overseas Coupon Program and view a list of participating military bases overseas.