Cheap Charity Is Sweet Charity

Photo: Carrie Kirby

Saturday is the Letter Carriers' annual food drive, when you put bags of food out and your mailman or mail woman will pick them up to share with needy families.

 But with rising food prices, who can afford to buy an extra bag of groceries for someone else?

You can. Here are a couple of food deals going on this week that, if combined with coupons, yield about two bags of non-perishable groceries for as little as $3. Even without coupons, you'll spend no more than $10 on food that will really come in handy for those less fortunate.

Both deals are at the Supervalu food chain, including Albertson's, Jewel, and probably other stores in the chain.

1) Buy 10 boxes of General Mills cereal for $10 with preferred card. Besides the cereal, boxes of selected granola bars and fruit snacks are also $1, as long as your combined total of items equals 10. There does not appear to be a limit on this, although if you shop with a stroller like I do, you'll find buying just 10 boxes of cereal stretches your space limit. Go to and type in your zip code to see your local flyer with a list of what's included. The deal runs through Saturday, May 10, the day of the food drive.

When I bought the cereal, I used three $1/2 GM cereal coupons clipped from the paper, as well as a 75-cents off granola bars and a 75-cents off Chex cereal, one of the included varieties. I had more coupons, but I was disappointed to find out that my local Jewel doesn't take Internet coupons. Not sure if this is a chain-wide rule.

Also, the deal spits out a $2/5 GM cereal store coupon at the register, which I'm planning to use tomorrow to do the whole deal again. If I use five $1/2 manufacturer's coupons along with it, I'm hoping to get the 10 boxes for $3.

2) Buy 20 participating products, get $10

For this deal, good through May 14, you get a $10 coupon for your next shopping trip at the register. So you spend $20 up front, which, by the way, you can deduct from your taxes if you're donating the food. It's good for Hunt's and Ro-Tel diced tomatoes, Hunt's Manwich sauce, Chef Boyardee Ravioli, Hunt's Ketchup, Gulden's Mustard, Van Camp's Pork and Beans, La Choy Soy Sauce, Wesson Oil, Pam Cooking Spray, Egg Beaters, Healthy Choice Meals, Marie Callender's meals and Orville Redenbacher's Microwave Popcorn.

I'll be doing this deal as well, but, selfish me, I've got to keep the spoils because my daughter is crazy about that canned ravioli and I need the diced tomatoes for cooking.

Some people may feel that charity is less true if you didn't pay much for it. I disagree. I went through a lot of effort to get together the food for my bags, and I also feel that these are very appropriate foods for a food drive -- long shelf life, relatively nutritious, liked by most people and easy to prepare. It makes no difference to the recipients whether I paid $4 a box for the cereal or 50 cents a box. As an added bonus, if you stick with the cereal deal like I am, you'll save your letter carrier's back a bit.

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Guest's picture

If your grocery dollar is stretched too thin this month, consider asking your local food bank who will be receiving these donations if they need any more volunteers.

My fiance and I are doing this for the Ballard Food Bank in Seattle for a few hours on Saturday - what a great reward for no cost but our time!

Guest's picture

It's so funny you posted this, because I also tapped my cereal stash to get my bag together for Saturday.

Guest's picture

Have you used Avenu on It loads electronic coupons onto your Preferred Card. This week they were doing $1 off Cinnamon Toast Crunch and $1.25 off the granola bars.

Guest's picture

that's strange, because i signed up for Avenu as i prepared this post to see if it would yield any extra savings, and i did not see those. now i want to try again. i really want granola bar coupons!

Guest's picture

We haven't been following this as closely as I'd like, but we try to get 3 things for the food bank bin every week. I'd called the food bank to ask what things they need most, so we focus on those items when they're on sale. I don't spend more than two dollars a week, but I know that people need the food bank all year round, and anything I can give is better than nothing.

Guest's picture

Although sales at stores can make buying food for a food drive practical, they usually don't last forever so you might miss out on the chance to support the charity.
There is a company I know of that automatically donates 10% of the proceeds of each sale to charity. The company is called Holy Food Imports. You can find their website at