ALLIANCE – Sierra Cottle knows how to find a good deal.
The 36-year-old Alliance native runs a coupon blog that helps readers find discounted products at popular retailers and online stores.
She recently used her knack for spotting the right deals to donate around 125 new toys and books to the YWCA Alliance as part of the agency’s Christmas outreach program, which helps families in need give gifts to their children during the holidays.
“To be able to give back, it was just awesome,” Cottle said. “I know we have so many kids who could really use it.”
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The YWCA Alliance helps needy families during the Christmas season each year through its outreach program.
“It has grown exponentially over the years,” said Managing Director Stacie Weimer. “In 2020, we were able to find 33 sponsors to officially adopt families, and we are on the verge of surpassing that mark. We are up to 50 families who are officially adopted.”
Who is Sierra Cottle?
When Cottle was growing up, his mother depended on programs like the YWCA’s Christmas initiative. Hearing that the agency was collecting toy donations for the upcoming holiday season, she saw an opportunity to support Alliance families in need.
Cottle is passionate about helping people learn to shop for less. She launched The Couponing Unicorn in 2018. The website offers money-saving ideas and discounts on a variety of products, from kitchen gadgets to play equipment.
She also shares tips for finding inexpensive toys.
“Every year I highlight clearance items and try to encourage people to donate and also try to teach people how to buy responsibly and get toys at a reasonable price,” Cottle said.
Using apps for stores like Walmart, Target, and Walgreens, Cottle searches for the best deals she can find. Most stores, she said, put the toys on clearance in the weeks following major holidays, such as Christmas and Easter, with some offering discounts of up to 90%.
In the past year or so, Cottle began purchasing discounted toys to stock for donation. When she dropped the items off at the YWCA this month, Weimer said agency staff were in tears.
“It was the equivalent of more than two toy wagons. It was absolutely mind-blowing how generous and incredible (Cottle’s) story was. She told us how she was able to get these toys as well,” he said. Weimer said.
More than 300 people received Christmas help through the YWCA last year
She said Cottle’s contribution to the YWCA will allow the agency to give gifts to more children in the community and show them that people want to see them have an enjoyable vacation.
“Looking at it last year, we were able to serve over 300 people with Christmas awareness,” Weimer said. “This year it’s just going to help that awareness even more. It’s going to have a bigger impact in helping these children living in poverty have something and people care enough about them to contribute like what Sierra has. made.”
Cottle said it was great knowing that his donations will impact people in the community. She said the holiday season can be a stressful time for families who cannot afford gifts for their children.
“Everyone wants to be able to give their children a good Christmas, and sometimes we just have a hard time and we can’t do it,” she said. “So to be able to be in a position where I can give beautiful toys to the children and know that there are going to be children who are going to wake up happy and excited to have these toys, it was great to be able to do that.”
The YWCA will also offer walk-in services for families who missed the deadline to register for Christmas awareness. Families can have up to two toys per child in their home until Christmas or until the agency runs out of gifts.
Cottle hopes others who can afford to donate. She plans to do the same thing again next year.
“In fact, I have already started collecting,” she said.
Contact Paige at 330-580-8577 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter at @paigembenn.