Woman Feeds Thousands In Need Like A Boss

JUSTIN T. GELLERSON FOR READER’S DIGEST

For the Love of Others

Lauren Puryear’s work has captured global attention by her mission to feed 30,000 meals to the homeless by her 30th birthday by utilizing a great skill, extreme couponing. Lauren set this goal on her 29th birthday and the story went crazy viral! She has more than doubled that goal before she turned 30!

Lauren Puryear started a non-profit organization called For the Love of Others (FTLOO) in 2012. FTLOO is an organization that seeks to enrich, empowers and enhance the lives of others. 

The organization helps people in need through various community outreach events. One of these events involves buying food, preparing it and distributing meals to people who need it most.

The name of the organization is based off a wonderful biblical scripture, John 13:34-35 which says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.” For the Love of Others believes that everyone deserves to experience the love of Christ by seeing it demonstrated in others. FTLOO hosts a variety of different service projects to include feeding the homeless through extreme couponing. 

Lauren Puryear history and today

Lauren Puryear grew up in an apartment building with her mom, sister, grandmother, aunts, and cousins in Paterson, NJ on Park Ave. After graduating high school, Lauren attended Virginia Union University in Richmond, VA. She majored in Religious Studies and minored in Philosophy. Lauren furthered her education obtaining a master’s degree in counseling and then her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Walden University. 

Lauren’s work experience has been in the human services field ranging from working with children with autism to adults with disabilities, outpatient counseling, and now she works with local government in homeless services. Feeding 5,000 people every month. For Lauren Puryear—single mother, full-time mental health therapist, and founder of the nonprofit For the Love of ­Others—the secret ingredient is ­coupons. Lots and lots of coupons. 

”The best way to get the lowest out-of-pocket cost is to match the coupon when the item is on sale,” she explains. Her clipping talents save between $250 and $1,000 per grocery trip.

Q&A With Lauren

What exactly inspired you to start a nonprofit?

I was inspired by my grandmother! She passed away in 2012, however, growing up with her was amazing. I learned so much about life and love form her. She always taught me the importance of loving others and when she died, I wanted to do something to honor her legacy. 

Prior to stating FTLOO, I was not an entrepreneur. I actually never planned to be one!

What are FTLOO goals currently?

When I turned 29 years old, I made a goal to feed 30,000 meals to the homeless and hungry by my 30th birthday through extreme couponing. The story went viral and I was blessed to have appeared on the Steve Harvey Show, Harry Connick Jr, Good Morning America, People Magazine, Essence, Woman’s World Magazine, and more. In just 6 months, I was able to meet that goal and by my 30th birthday, I fed over 65,000 meals all over the United States for less than $2,000. 

Our new goal is to help eradicate world hunger. The number of food ensure households in America, the number of hungry children in America and all the statistics on overall hunger in America is alarming and I would like to decrease those number by providing economical solutions. 

Can you describe who you help, is it only the homeless?

We serve anyone in need! We help a wide variety of people from the homeless to the average middle-class family. Because we are a human service agency, we do not close our doors or turn many people away. Our business also caters to couponers! We teach people how to save money through couponing.

How did you get people talking about your FTLOO?

Going viral really helped! People from all over the world talk about FTLOO. Not only do they talk about it, but they support it! I couldn’t ask for anything more. I would say using social media helps because today’s generation is attracted to it. I am also a firm believer that with God all things are possible! FTLOO is a vision God gave me and He has carried me from conception until now. 

What sacrifices have you had to make to become successful?

Many! Sacrificing is probably one of the greatest lessons I have learned while being a business owner. Not only have I had to sacrifice time, but I have had to sacrifice many relationships with people I thought were my friends and were not. I have learned that the higher we go in life, there are only certain people who can understand where we are going and appreciate what we were called to do. 

What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful business owner?

Compassion. I believe this is a skill! This is something you have to master because on the days where we are tired if we have compassion, we will still love what we are called to. Time management is also key. I used to spend a lot of time dreaming about what I wanted to accomplish. Although dreams are great, I had to do the work to make my dreams become my reality! Lastly, 

How do you want to improve yourself in the next year?

I want to improve myself by overcoming my fear of failure and learning to take risks! I am intelligent and do not do anything without a well thought out plan but sometimes overthinking things causes me to doubt and then I become fearful that I will not succeed. So, this year, I am going to conquer this! 

Tell us about your proudest achievement?

Becoming a mother! This is my proudest achievement because giving birth to my son pushed to accomplish all my hearts desires because I have to set the example for him so that he can do the same. Received 

What advice would you give to young women and moms from your own experiences?

Trust the process! Everyone has a different story. I learned that my story is not going to be the same as anyone else’s, and that’s okay! My advice would be to stay prayed up, stay focused and work hard to accomplish your goals! 

What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?

I like being able to see my vision executed. That is my favorite part of being an entrepreneur. I like that the best because For the Love of Others is truly a vision God gave me. It brings me great joy to see the work of the Lord being done all over the world through FTLOO. I don’t think there is anything better than that! God called us to be the hands and feet of Jesus and that is what we are doing. 

What do you do on a daily basis to grow as an entrepreneur?

Honestly, I pray! I also look at my vision that I have written down and see how I can work towards accomplishing it. I take one step at a time. 

If you had one piece of advice to our readers to those just starting out a business in consulting or writing, what would it be?

My advice would be to be confident in your calling! Many business owners use social media as a platform to advertise/market their business. Do not let the success of others (or what appears to be) deter you from your calling! Be true to the calling God has placed in your life and watch Him bless you!

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