One Toy, One Smile – Donate and Receive Free CBX Tickets!

unnamed.jpgIn honor of Día del Niño (Children’s Day), Cross Border Xpress (CBX) – the bi-national bridge connecting San Diego to the Tijuana International Airport – will be collecting toy donations for children in need as part of their “One Toy, One Smile” initiative.

To participate, users of the bridge can simply bring a new toy to the CBX San Diego ticket counter and, in exchange for their donation, receive one FREE southbound CBX ticket ($16 value). Donations will be accepted through April 28.

unnamed-1.jpgThis year CBX pledged to donate 100 toys to Hospital Infantil de las Californias, a children’s hospital in Mexico, which will, in turn, give children a toy prior to medical procedures. Through the generous guest and staff donations last year, CBX was able to donate to multiple organizations in Tijuana, including Orphanage Emmanuel and Casa Morada del Niño Jesus. CBX aims to increase donations and expand to even more organizations this year.

Cross Border Xpress is located at 2745 Otay Pacific Drive, San Diego, CA 92154 (map).

2018 Holiday Resources For Those in Need

2018 has been a hard year for so many families. Thankfully there are many local groups that are offering help to neighbors in need.

The holiday are more than food and gifts, but no one should go hungry any time of year!

Here is my post with a list of food banks/pantries in San Diego. Many of the food pantries also have special holiday distributions, it is worth a call to find out of any additional food or gift distributions will be done.

unnamed (1).jpgMeet the Need at Faith Chapel is giving away 100 6-7 foot Christmas trees this Sunday, December 2, 2018 to the first 100 people who register.

If you desire a tree, plan on coming to Faith Chapel to register as early as 8:30am. Trees are limited to the first 100 registrants. Bring tie downs or whatever else you need to take a tree home with you.  From their email, “Meet The Need will be held at the Faith Chapel Activity Center at the top of the church property beginning at 1:00pm. There will be lots of fun activities and a wonderful Mexican Themed meal!

Registration for Meet The Need will be held in the church lobby at the top of the campus in the main foyer. Registration will begin as early as 8:30am and will be open till 10:30am. We only have 100 Christmas Tree’s, available for the first 100 registrants that want a Christmas Tree. So if you want to guarantee yourself a tree, show up as early as possible.

Registration will be from 8:30-1:00pm Feel free to register at this link now. It’ll help the line move faster but please know this does not count as saving your place in line for a tree. Doors open for Meet The Need at 1:00pm.”

Screen Shot 2017-11-13 at 1.53.34 PM.pngToys 4 Joy has 3 San Diego area events on December 8th. Toys for Joy is open to all children and families and no registration is required. One free toy will be given to all children attending the event ages 0 – 11. Free lunch will be provided in addition to free entertainment, kids activities and giveaways. All three locations have free groceries and one location has free gently used clothing available.
Screen Shot 2018-11-30 at 10.24.34 AM.pngThe Cameron YMCA is hosting a free Cookies and Milk with Santa on Saturday, December 15th.
Bring the entire family and join us for our annual Cookies with Santa!
Enjoy Cookie decorating, ornament making, letters to Santa, pin the
heart on the Grinch and photos with Santa!
Pre-Registration Required. Thanks to PetSmart of El Cajon, all children registered will receive a plush toy at the event while supplies last.
This event is not limited to YMCA members! To register, please call the Cameron YMCA in Santee at 619-449-9622.
46483028_285394222087178_1187343279482470400_o.jpgEast County kids are invited to meet Santa, enjoy crafts and snacks with the Santee-Lakeside Elks Lodge on December 15th.
Here is the event page with details and the address

In order for your kids to receive a gift, please sign up your kids up to 12 years old via email to Jerrilynn: Kids_Christmas_Party@cox.net by December 7th please include name, age & gender and gift idea under $20.00

 

Screen Shot 2018-11-30 at 10.08.55 AM.pngNew Christian Fellowship in Hillcrest is having an fun, free event on December 22nd. There will be toys for kids 12 and under, as well as food, games, and fn. You can find more information on their Facebook page here.
And if you are in a position to help out, please consider donating to your local food or toy drive. Many grocery stores have red donation barrels, schools are doing canned food drives for their local food banks this time of year too.
46917582_1434957259969602_6344294160849174528_n.jpgIn Santee, Santee Santas and our local Chick-Fil-A have teamed up to “Stuff the truck” this Saturday, December 1st.
Bring a toy or non-perishable food item and receive a free menu item (see the flier). You can learn more here.
Firefly Wellness Day Spa is also holding a food drive.
When you donate, not only will you have the satisfaction of knowing that you are helping others, but you will also get a thank you coupon from Firefly Wellness Day Spa. Each person who donates ten (10) or more items will receive a coupon for a FREE brow wax or a $20 coupon to use at Firefly Wellness Day Spa which can either be used as a holiday gift or use it for yourself on your next visit. (Limit one coupon per person.)
You can get details and learn more here.
Talk Back: What is your favorite way to help others? 

Simple Ways to Help Others This Holiday Season

With the holidays approaching (Hey, tomorrow is Thanksgiving), you will probably start to see charities and organizations ask for assistance with their holiday campaigns. If you are on a budget, writing a check may not be feasible, but there are other ways to help.

1-Donate to your local food bank food drive: Most food banks see an increase in clients at the end of the year, and need everyday foods. Clean out your cupboard and donate some IN DATE, un-dented cans or boxed items.  

I know most of us have some extra (and unexpired) items in their cupboard they could part with. If you are unsure what kind of items to donate, here are items that the food bank always needs:

  • Canned Meats
  • Canned Vegetables
  • Canned Fruits
  • Canned Soup
  • Peanut Butter
  • Cereal & Oatmeal
  • Rice & Pasta
  • Powdered Milk, beverage mixes (like shelf stable juice concentrate, instant coffee, hot cocoa pouches)
  • Infant Formula (The sample sized canisters or sample pouches that you may have received free in the mail are perfect donations!)

2- If your local area doesn’t have a food bank, check to see if there is a  Little Free Pantry in your area.  These are stocked by neighbors in the area, and most of them can always use some extra boxes or cans. Our neighborhood has a Blessing Box located at the nearby church.  Sometimes neighbors are too embarrassed to seek out help. In those cases, Little Free Pantries and Blessing boxes are saving graces.

3-Don’t forget to check out your local Buy Nothing Groups. Within local buy nothing groups, your neighbors are offering up items for free, and you can offer items from your home that you no longer need.

4-Donate! Charities sometimes accept gently used items to sell to raise money for their causes (such as AmVets, and DAV). You can drop off stuff you no longer need/want and help others at the same time!

5-Donate to a Clothing Swap. I’ve written about clothing swaps here before. With the holidays coming up, some local organizations have an increased need for clothing, especially if they offer clothing without requiring a donation from those in need.  If you are in need of clothing, but have nothing to swap, two good free clothing resources in San Diego are The Closet on 54th (Men, women, and children’s clothing) and Naomi’s Closet (only women’s clothing). 

Helping Neighbors with Blessing Boxes

So for those of you that live in San Diego, one of our local Methodist Churches (The one in Santee-8964 Magnolia Ave, Santee, CA 92071) has a Blessing Box where neighbors can put food, toiletries, diapers, formula, etc. to share with neighbors who are in need but can’t make it to the local food bank for whatever reason. It was started last year. You can read more about it here and see some pictures.
I try to stop by every few weeks and put some stuff from our pantry in it. I pick up a few extra items at the grocery store (or 99 Cents Only or Grocery Outlet) when I shop each week. Instant oatmeal, canned soup, tuna, or beans with a pop-top (in case someone doesn’t have access to a can opener).
When I walked to the blessing box this AM there were 4 packets of oatmeal, some citrus fruit, and a fleece blanket (in the grocery bag).
I quickly scoured my car for everything I had. I didn’t have a lot extra in my trunk, but I emptied it of all of the food I had- I even went through the kid’s Snack bag that is for “emergency car snacks”.
IMG_8728.jpgHere is what it looked like after I put in my donation. I picked up a package of wipes from Huggies at a bloggers summit a few weeks back. I hadn’t yet opened it, so I added it to the Blessing Box.  I know that this box gets utilized by a lot of locals with great frequency. I will be back to add more groceries tonight.
Some of you may have Little Free Pantries or Free Food Boxes in your area too. If not, it’s easy to start one! Many local schools also have a food pantry for kids whose families face food insecurity. Santana High School has one!
My call to action for you is this:
  1. Look into your pantry and pick out 5 things you can live without. They must be in date and something someone actually wants to eat (I’m looking at you, jar of cocktail onions).
  2. Find someone in need. Add it to your local Little Free Pantry, post it on a neighborhood forum, a local parents group, or donate it to your local school food pantry.
  3. Give freely and with love.
  4. Repeat.
I know that most of us have grocery budgets. Imagine if we all cut $5 out of our budget and bought 5 (or more) items to share with a neighbor in need- That would go really far to help hungry families!
If you aren’t sure what to donate, here are a few suggestions:
  • Canned Meats
  • Canned Vegetables
  • Canned Fruits
  • Canned Soup
  • Peanut Butter
  • Cereal & Oatmeal
  • Rice & Pasta
  • Powdered Milk, beverage mixes (like shelf stable juice concentrate, instant coffee, hot cocoa pouches)
  • Infant Formula (The sample sized canisters or sample pouches that you may have received free in the mail are perfect donations!)
  • Toiletries and hygiene items
 I can’t wait to hear about how you’ve helping a neighbor!

San Diego Area Readers: Donate Canned goods receive a free facial or massage!

Screen Shot 2017-11-11 at 8.44.30 PM.png

Firefly Wellness is having our seventh annual holiday food drive to support the San Diego Food Bank. Items can be dropped off  through December 20th at their location in North Park.

Screen Shot 2017-11-11 at 8.44.59 PM.pngThe best part of this offer is that not only are you helping others with your food bank donation, but when you donate ten or more food items off at Firefly Wellness, you’ll receive a certificate for a free 30-minute massage or facial. You can use it yourself or give it as a gift.

I know most Frugalistas have at least ten extra (and unexpired) items in their cupboard they could part with. If you are unsure what kind of items to donate, here are items that the food bank always needs:

  • Canned Meats
  • Canned Vegetables
  • Canned Fruits
  • Canned Soup
  • Peanut Butter
  • Cereal & Oatmeal
  • Rice & Pasta
  • Powdered Milk, beverage mixes (like shelf stable juice concentrate, instant coffee, hot cocoa pouches)
  • Infant Formula (The sample sized canisters or sample pouches that you may have received free in the mail are perfect donations!)

(if you are looking for coupons to help you shop for donation, check out the coupons here)

Food Drive Information:
 
When: Now through Dec 20, 2017
Where: Firefly Wellness
How: Drop off items on your next visit, or call 619.249.4323 to schedule a drop-off or pick up or your items.
BONUS: Receive a THANK YOU GIFT CERTIFICATE when you donate ten or more items.  (Limit one per person.)
Please comment if you will be taking advantage of this great deal (and what you’ll be donating). I’ll be donating Oatmeal and Peanut Butter among other things.

Coupon Clubs: Friendship & Savings!

deals_and_Coupons_version_2 (2).jpgOne of the questions I get frequently  is how do I get so many coupons?

I used to subscribe to FIVE Sunday papers (so much waste!!), but the best way is that I belong to a coupon club!

A what?  A coupon club.  We meet once a month, bring our extra coupon inserts, clip, trade, nosh, gossip and share tricks and tips.  We have a private Facebook group, so we can discuss deals and post our “wishlists”.  Each of us posts a list of coupons that we would like, and as the next meet up draws near, those who are attending clip and print coupons for each other.  Each meet up is like Christmas morning, we trade envelopes of the clipped coupons we requested.  We also talk about deals, frugal living strategies, and help each other. We’ve been together about 7 years!!

In addition to trading coupons, we also have teamed up with a local American Legion Post. They collect Sunday coupon inserts from members. We clip them and return them (taking whatever coupons we’d like). The Legion mails the coupons overseas for those military families living on base overseas. Overseas Military commissaries (that’s the on base grocery stores) accept coupons expired up to 6 months after the expiration date. So not only do we get access to multiple inserts, but, we are able to help others.

We also collect sample sized toiletries and items that we are able to get for free and donate them to the American Legion Post for their homeless veteran outreach.

If you are interested in starting a coupon in your local area, check out Facebook or meetup.com- there are lots of coupon clubs all over the country.

I have a Facebook group for people in my local East County San Diego area. We meet twice a month during the week. If you are interested in joining, check out our group:  Weekday Frugalistas: East County

I post freebies, deals, and other stuff between meetings, and I post a run down of what we discussed at the meeting afterwards, so even if you cant go, you’ll still be up to date!

If you can’t find a local coupon group, there are website dedicated to helping couponers. My favorite is:

 

Visit Hotcouponworld It's all about the deals.HCW has forums for all the major stores, including grocery, drug and mass merchandisers. Trade coupons, find freebies, and find local coupon groups.  You can trade coupons and view their coupon database! I’ve met lots of friends on HCW!

And if you are looking to print coupon online, check out my list of printable coupon resources here.  Every coupon you print helps support our blog!

Help kids play with Ikea’s Let’s Play for Change!

play_for_changeIf you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you saw all of my crazy posts this morning from Ikea San Diego. A group of bloggers (and our kids) enjoyed breakfast in their cafe and learned out Ikea’s winter Good Cause Campaign, Let’s Play for Change, which highlights the benefits of play for all Children.

Honestly, the best part of being a kid is free time to play and learn. Children learn through play: social skills, emotional development, and so much more. Anyone shopping for the holidays at Ikea stores world wide can help the cause! For every children’s book and toy sold through November 20- December 24, 2016, the IKEA Foundation will make a donation of €1 (that’s about $1.10 USD) to projects in some of the poorest communities in the world. And you can help twice- Each store has a drop box where you can drop off purchased toys. If you buy toys at Ikea, that’s a double dip for the cause!

You can learn about the campaign by watching the video:

Ikea has partnered with Handicap International Federation, Room to Read, Save the Children, Special Olympics, UNICEF, and War Child. You can learn more about the Ikea Foundation by visiting their website.

And if you hasn’t visited Ikea lately, check out their awesome Ikea Family savings card! It’s free to sign up and you score all kinds of great deals and perks every day!

screen-shot-2016-11-20-at-3-50-18-pmIn addition to those perks, you score family only prices on tons of items each month. It’s definitely worth signing up. It’s free and easy to do.