Rockland’s “Coupon Lady” has helped thousands of people
BY LAUREN KATE ROSENBLUM
Most people peruse the coupon section and clip a few out here and there for things they might need, or might want to try. A rare few, the masters of couponing, are able to use coupons to stockpile massive amounts of products, while paying very little in return.
Anna Foldvary-De Sousa is one of these amazing coupon extraordinaires. What separates Anna from others is that she does not keep most of what she buys. Anna said, “ever since I have been doing it, I donate all over the place. I donated to People to People, St. Paul’s Church, West Nyack Post Office for the Troops; my daughter even went on a retreat one year to the Dominican Republic, and her church shipped it all over to the Dominican Republic.”
Unfortunately, stores don’t always see what Anna does as good thing. “They bother me, they don’t want me to come in and out. Pathmark has always treated me the best,” said Anna. “Shoprite of West Nyack has asked me not to come in and out.. they claim that I’m taking away from other customers. But, according to other customers that I have been meeting in the stores, they think it is wonderful what I am doing. They stick up for me.”
Originally from Nanuet, the 18-year coupon veteran has signed a contract with the popular TLC show, Extreme Couponing. She has been in contact with the show, and we hope to see her on TV soon.
But how did it all start?
“My late husband used to complain when I went shopping, he would say ‘Anna you’re spending too much money, start shopping with coupons like my mother does,’” says Anna. When Anna said she couldn’t be bothered, he sweetened the deal and said that whatever she saved, he would double what he gave her to spend. That was all the encouragement she needed.
Years later, Anna says that now “this is my outlet since my husband died.” It has become Anna’s favorite hobby. “It is such a thrill for me to go into a store and watch the bill come down.”
Last Friday, Anna donated 2,023 pounds of food to People to People, Rockland’s largest food pantry. According to Diane Serratore, Executive Director of People to people, “At $2.40 per pound (the amount the federal government assigns food donations), that’s a total of $4,855.20.”
This is significant because according to Serratore, “People to People is a $3.2 million organization. That’s our operating budget. Of that, $1.2 million is in cash. The other $2 million is in kind.”
While this may sound like a lot, the amount of people who need People to People’s services is growing. “When I started here in 2008 we were serving monthly grocery packages to about 500 families a month. We are up to about 1,100 families a month now. We have seen a tremendous increase in the number of people who need food,” said Serratore.
For those looking to donate to People to People,”we always need pasta sauce, tuna fish, peanut butter and cereal,” Serratore said.
Anna says she will do her part and continue to go out and buy mass amounts of tooth brushes, pasta, condiments, rice and much more, for the needy.