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Like many extreme couponers, Kimberly Gager has a garage full of items she’s purchased in bulk for pennies on the dollar. Her stash includes massive amounts of toilet paper, diapers, baby wipes, shampoo, toothpaste, cleaning supplies and laundry detergent.
It just so happens these are exactly the kinds of things that are needed by victims and evacuees of Hurricane Harvey, which devastated Houston, destroying homes and leaving thousands of families displaced and struggling financially.
It also just so happens that Gager—and her stash of necessities—lives in San Antonio, just a few hours outside of Houston.
To Gager, the next step was obvious.
“I just really want people to know, ‘Hey I’m here, I’m real. This isn’t a joke. If you need supplies, let me know,’” Gager, 39, told ABC News. Gager has turned her stash into a free, help-yourself-to-what-you-need store for Harvey victims. So far, more than 30 families have been given necessities, free of charge, from Gager’s garage.
For people who can’t make it to the garage themselves, Gager is also making personal deliveries. Many families are living in hotels while awaiting home repairs or—in worst case scenarios—figuring out where to live because their homes have been completely destroyed.
One of those people is Bridget Martinez from Ingleside, Texas. Martinez and her family are currently living in a hotel after their home’s ceiling collapsed in the hurricane and they found themselves instantly, unexpectedly homeless. FEMA is helping the family pay for their hotel stay, but has denied them assistance with more permanent housing. Money is tight, so when Martinez heard about Gager, she looked her up on Facebook and asked for help.
“I sent her a message this morning, and she responded right away. Two hours later, here she is,” Martinez told ABC News. “I am very grateful. 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 as she’s helping us.”
Gager isn’t just relying on her existing stash to help struggling families: she’s out couponing for more! In a recent photo on Facebook, Gager displayed multiple carts full of toys for kids who have been affected by Hurricane Harvey. The total savings on her receipt, thanks to her couponing skills? Nearly $1500.
Gager is just one more reminder that the worst of times brings out the best in people. If you’d like to donate to Gager to help her buy more goods for hurricane victims, her PayPal ID is Kimberlygager@yahoo.com.
And hey, if you’re an extreme couponer yourself, consider using your skills to pick up some extra supplies for hurricane victims! Let’s pay it forward.