Joni Meyer-Crothers still cries when she remembers how she could barely feed her children at one point in time. “As a mom, it’s an awful feeling, because you’re supposed to provide for your kids,” she says.
But even in her darkest moments, the Toledo, Ohio, resident believed God would one day use her struggle for His purpose—and He did. That day came five years ago, when Meyer-Crothers began learning to use coupons to save money and stockpile goods. Today, she is one of the stars of TLC’s Extreme Couponing show.
Dedicated shoppers can learn how to organize coupons and where to find the best coupon deals on the show and in her book, Extreme Couponing: Learn How to Be a Savvy Shopper and Save Money ... One Coupon at a Time, as well as on her blog, freetastesgood.com.
But Meyer-Crothers has another message. Keenly aware of what brought her to this place, she is now known for her generosity—and that’s because she’s never forgotten sitting in church as a 5-year-old and listening to a missionary talk about the hungry and the homeless.
“As Christians, we see the need, but so many times it’s easy to turn our heads and hope someone else steps up,” she says. “My mission is to feed everybody.”
Since she began couponing, Meyer-Crothers, along with her husband, Jamie, and their seven children, has donated more than $100,000 in food, clothes and hygiene products to those in need. In addition to donating in bulk to charities and churches, the family has opened a pantry in their garage to feed those in need in their community.
“They can come anytime, day or night. The only thing we ask is when they get in a different spot in their life, that they pass the blessing on,” Meyer-Crothers says.
And when Hurricane Sandy devastated parts of the northeast, Meyer-Crothers decided to fill a 14-foot truck with items to help those without food, electricity or even a home. Once the community heard what she was doing, she was able to fill six 32-foot trucks with donated items.
“When you’re doing things that glorify God,” she says, “He does bless what you’re doing—and abundantly.”