Photo By: ELLIE VAN HOUTTE/TOWN CRIER
Los Altos residents Michele and Steven Boal just made it easier for others to join the fight to eliminate childhood hunger nationwide.
In fact, all it takes is the click of a mouse.
The couple, who founded Mountain View-based coupons.com in 1998, Aug. 15 announced the launch of their company’s philanthropic arm, Coupons for Change, and its website, couponsforchange.org.
For every three coupons printed from the website and used by a consumer, one meal will be donated to Feeding America, according to Michele Boal, who serves as chief philanthropic officer for Coupons for Change. Feeding America, a national charity, feeds approximately 14 million children, 3 million of whom are 5 and younger.
Boal told the Town Crier the website seeks to empower those who want to give back but don’t always have the time or resources.
“Everyone wants to give back, but not everyone can,” said Boal, who noted that Coupons for Change offers several of the same brand-name coupons offered on the parent company website. “With this, we’re empowering everyone to give back in a simple way. Nothing is coming out of (the consumer’s) pockets. They get to stretch their dollars and help someone else in the process.”
The organization selected Feeding America, she added, because of its ability to impact those in need of one of life’s most basic necessities – food. According to Feeding America, more than 16 million children in the United States suffered food insecurity in 2010.
A mother of three, Boal said the thought of a child going to bed without food is “enough to make my stomach turn.”
“People sometimes get this idea that (childhood hunger) is hitting only a certain area, when it’s really everywhere,” she said. “Childhood hunger hides from no one. It is truly in all of our neighborhoods and schools. It’s happening all the time and you hear about it more than ever.”
To celebrate its launch, Coupons for Change attempted to set a Guinness World Record by making the largest lunch box – 90 inches long, 80 inches wide and 40 inches high. The giant lunchbox was 10 times the size of a traditional lunch box.
“The lunch box was a very symbolic thing for us,” she said.
Partnering with Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, InnVision Shelter Network and the San Francisco 49ers Foundation, the organization stuffed the lunch box with 400 backpacks filled with nutritious lunches. InnVision, which provides housing and support services for local homeless families, distributed the backpacks.
“We want to have the greatest impact we can,” said Boal, who expects to receive notice soon about the organization’s record-setting attempt. “We’re not capping (our goals) at a certain dollar amount. There are a lot of kids to help out there.”
For more information, visit www.couponsforchange.org.