How you can help U.S. troops at Hewlett-Woodmere library


Don’t throw away those expired coupons just yet.

Instead, the Hewlett-Woodmere Public Library will take them to give to United States troops.

“Coups for Troops,” a program led by librarian Carolyn Lynch for the last few years, asks library patrons in the communities to donate expired coupons to help soldiers save money. The coupons are still good for six months at U.S. military bases overseas due to them not receiving papers and magazines.

The coupons are then sent to Support Our Troops, a charitable organization based in Florida, its mission is in its name, asking for the public’s help, whether it is through local groups, companies, schools, colleges, churches, or a local library such as Hewlett-Woodmere.

The response has been good for this year, Lynch said. However, they most certainly rely on community involvement.

“We get the paper every week,” she said. “Fiddling with the packets of coupons in the paper, so we definitely rely on the community to come and donate their coupons as well so we can get a nice amount of coupons out for troops and their family.”

Cutting up the coupons isn’t necessary as teenage volunteers at the library cut and sort them out in the appropriate category they belong to.

Coupons vary from food, baby products, pet and non-food items such as cleaning products, makeup and vitamins.

At the end of the month, Lynch mails out the coupons to the organization’s program, “Troopons,” which handles the distributions to the troops.

According to a 2012 survey conducted by Troopons, found that military families across the world depend on its services to help make ends meet. Of the coupon users, 95 percent are married, 72 percent have young children and 80 percent of the adults are in their 20s and 30s.

Since January, the volunteers have cut 27,183 coupons, generating a total savings value of $90,686.12. More than 460 coupon appointments have been scheduled, which averages 20 to 30 different teens cutting coupons a month, Lynch said.

One of them is a frequent volunteer of three years, Maya Rabin, a Hewlett High School junior who first joined when she was in the eighth grade to earn community service hours.

Now as a young adult, it has a different meaning for her, she said.

“I realized that there was more of a meaning to Coops for Troops than just for community service,” she explained. “There’s a reason why I am doing this and it motivated me to keep going because I was helping a bunch of troops around the world.

‘This is for me to help around the world and make a difference,” she added.

In the shadow of Veterans Day, Lynch recognizes those who have served in all of the country’s wars past and present.

“Their families go through so much and do a lot for our country to protect us,” Lynch said. “So, if we can do anything to help them and their families, I think that’s so important.”