Monte Vista Baptist Church has been sending coupons to military families overseas for years, and despite the pandemic they’ve kept it up.
“We became involved in this years and year ago,” said church member Priscilla Terry. The church had been sending coupons to a family overseas, and as they found different families who could use them, they would continue sending them.
“On military bases, they can use coupons up to two months past the expiration date. It used to be six months, but now it’s only two,” said Terry.
Monte Vista collects, cuts, and packages the coupons in flat rate boxes.
“We send them to one family, but they take them and share them with other people on the base too. But this way we only have to send one box out,” according to Terry.
Member Sallie Eades came on board more recently to help with the program, and went online looking for volunteer organizations, and places to send the coupons.
“I found a program called Coups for Troops. They matched us up with someone in the military interested in getting coupons, and we started sending them there in 2018,” she said.
Local people in the community, and other local churches, have also been helping out by donating coupons.
Terry says, “People can take coupons to the Staunton River Baptist Association in Altavista. Anybody that has extra or collects coupons, if they want to contribute, we would be glad to take them.”
According to Terry if people don’t have extra coupons, but want to donate, “They can always make monetary donations out to Monte Vista Baptist Church for the program, and we can use that for postage to mail them.”
Before the COVID-19 pandemic began, Monte Vista Baptist Church had hands-on nights twice a month for missions work. One night per month was usually dedicated to coupon cutting, but since the pandemic, that has changed.
“We have been doing the cutting from home,” Terry said. “It’s good for when you’re watching T.V. or wanting something to do with your hands.”
The church has also been working on another hands-on projects for homeless people in the local area.
“We get plastic bags and cut long strips out of them. Then they can be crocheted into waterproof sleeping mats that for the homeless. They are light-weight, and easy to carry,” Terry said.
For the local people in the community, Monte Vista also provides a blessing box, just outside the front doors of the church for anyone in need. They try to rotate it regularly with canned and dry goods, but often include fresh produce, and a small filing cabinet with books and a few children’s items.
Pastor Wyatt Miles noted, “We are always looking for ways to help meet physical and spiritual needs.”