MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Saving a dollar here or there is something most can appreciate. But Toni LaValla might appreciate it even more, for two reasons.

One, the coupons she cuts and sorts will be sent to help military families. The other reason is much more personal.

“It makes me think of my mom in so many ways,” said Toni.

When WCCO’s John Lauritsen first met Toni’s mother Ellen two years ago, “Operation Coupon” was in full swing.

Bags full of discounts and deals surrounded Ellen’s dining room and she would cut, trim and then sort them to be sent to military families overseas. The only reason why Ellen said she did it was that military families had a special place in her heart.

“The main thought was that I wanted to volunteer to do something to help somebody else. And when I saw this, I thought well it seems like a pretty good idea because certainly they need help. One military mom sent me a ‘thank you’ card telling me she had saved $500 in one year because of the coupons,” said Ellen in November 2008.

In April of this year, Ellen passed away due to complications from pneumonia. But Toni and family friend Colleen Erickson refuse to let this mission end.

In Ellen’s honor, they are continuing a bargain mission for someone else.

“She just had a big heart, always cared about everyone, always concerned about everyone. That was Ellie,” said Colleen.

“For me it’s just the honoring of my mother. I think it’s a great thing that she started and I just hope it continues for a very long time. I hink she would be happy about that,” said Toni.

Colleen and Toni get help from about a dozen other volunteers now.

Since May, they have sent out 18 boxes full of coupons.

“Coupons for the Military” only accepts manufacturer’s coupons that have not expired. Military families overseas can use the coupons six months after they expire.

If you are interested in donating to “Coupons for the Military,” contact Colleen Erickson at cmericks@ties2.net

  1. Michele Kleason says:

    Cool Toni-Way to Go!

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