I love stories about young people who have an impulse to help people in need. And I like that they often have creative ideas about how to do so that an older person might never have considered.
At the Boston Globe, Astead W. Herndon recently covered a high school student, now at Tufts University, who got her creative idea in a rather unusual way — while watching reality television.
Herndon reports, “Before Hannah Steinberg had a day named in her honor and was recognized by a US senator, the Tufts junior was just another high school student watching reality television.
“On that day about four years ago, Steinberg’s show of choice was ‘Extreme Couponing,’ the cable program that follows discount-obsessed shopaholics who go to supreme lengths to buy ultra-cheap items regardless of whether they need them.
“But as she watched the show’s stars proudly hoard their deeply discounted prizes, Steinberg said she had a thought: What if she could coupon with a conscience?
“These days, the 20-year-old Steinberg has a registered charity that has donated more than $100,000 worth of household items, canned goods, and electronics to homeless shelters and hospitals by using the couponing tricks she observed on the show. …
“Steinberg uses the example of a chocolate bar priced at $1.19. If she finds a buy one, get one free coupon, and pairs it with a buy two, get one free coupon and a $4 off any $10 purchase discount, Steinberg said she can purchase 30 chocolate bars for only $6.
“To fund her purchases, Steinberg solicits donations to Our Coupons Care, her federally recognized nonprofit charity. By mixing that money with her coupon magic, Steinberg said she can make “every dollar count for four to five dollars.” More here.
Although this seems like a lot of work, to me that’s not the point. Here’s a young woman who is transforming a consumerism that has run amok — until it is almost an illness — into something positive. And she is demonstrating that people with kind hearts and compassion continue to be born.
Photo: John Tlumacki/Globe
Tufts student Hannah Steinberg surrounded by the coupons she collects to buy goods to donate to charity.