Shelter Tails: Donating a little can help animals a lot
By Mary Esparra
For the Times Herald-Record
Published: 2:00 AM - 07/29/11
When it comes to shelter donations, every little bit helps.
I put my money where my mouth is last week when I gave a donation of seven grocery bags of cat and
dog food and treats to the Canine Sanctuary in Mountainville.
Times are tough, and feeding my pets and two teenagers was getting expensive. Out of curiosity a few
months ago, I watched TLC's "Extreme Couponing." Skeptical, I couldn't believe anyone could save
99 percent on groceries in one shopping trip.
Mom was right about coupons
My mom and I have always disagreed that couponing could save me money. No-name brands were
always cheaper than brand names with 25-cent coupons. Then the couponers on the show explained
their rather easy (but time-consuming) formula: Double coupons (where a store will double the value
of a manufacturer's coupon) plus store sales equals big discounts. Multiply that by 10, 20 or 100 of the
same coupon, and you get a lot of free or inexpensive stuff.
OK, Mom, you were right. I'm not saving 99 percent yet, but I'm thrilled at the success I have achieved
After saving a small stockpile of treats and food for my own pets, I filled seven grocery bags of pet
food for the Canine Sanctuary. Total regular cost of these items: $82.70. Amount I paid: $23.83.
Michelle Gorta, director of the Canine Sanctuary, was thrilled with my modest donation.
"People are always saying they wish they could help that dog or cat in the shelter or on the pet page,"
she said. "You can help, just by using coupons."
I met another newbie extreme couponer in the supermarket who had the same idea I had about
donating to shelters.
Donating is easy and welcomed
"After watching 'Extreme Couponing,'" said Gail Stellato of Goshen, "I thought, 'How could you not
want to help your local food pantry and shelter?' These people had these stockpiles in their basements.
They're gluttonous! Who needs 100 bottles of barbecue sauce? Donate it to your local pantry."
Stellato recently donated a few bags of dog food to a shelter and is planning on doing more.
"I love animals, and it's an easy thing to do," she said.
Seven-year-old Gary Edwards III of Bloomingburg also understands that every little bit helps. At his
birthday party this month, he asked family and friends for donations for the Humane Society of
Middletown instead of gifts.
Wow, a 7-year-old forgoing presents?
"I want to help the animals and take care of them and make them healthy," he said.
"We've been through some rough times ourselves for the past few years and have been the recipients
of the generosity of others," said Gary's mother, Elizabeth Connor. "I think that has sparked my son's
interest in helping others in need."