News Release Information
[To the media, please remember that your article or news piece can make a big difference at OCP. If your report is not accurate or incorrectly reports our process, even by certain ommissions, it can take us years to recover and we may have to suspend or stop our operations. Please read the website completely and this press release completely. Only after you have read through both, do you have permission to report about this program.]
The Overseas Coupon Program is a Charitable Service Program that supports Military Families Overseas. The program is not tax deductible but is still a very worthwhile cause. A service person being sent overseas will be away from their family for over a year. If the family can travel with them, that makes their time serving our country overseas more tolerable. Many bases in Europe, and Asia allow families to live there. The problem with this arrangement is that the spouse is in a foreign land without work. There are very few jobs for spouses on base so most families end up as one income families. This places a strain on their finances. In the end it helps if we provide some kind of assistance. Last year OCP provided over ten million dollars in coupon assistance!
In 1992, Becky Thane, (military spouse) started this program under the name, Overseas Coupon Project. It was managed as a tax deductible charity until 2002 when the target personnel in the military were no longer below the poverty level because of military pay raises. At that time, Edward W. Allen III, (USMC 1975-1981) took over as president of the charity. It is being operated as a "necessary" charity, but no longer a tax deductible one, under the name of Overseas Coupon Program.
OCP encourages the forwarding of coupons to overseas bases. They list the bases and who has adopted and then donated to them at their web site. They actually provide the resource to track what is going on. This program operates without income while trying to keep expenses as low as possible. The program does not work at domestic bases.
Donors are asked to adopt a base, which means to choose the one that they would like to support. The base page lists which are available for adoption and which are not. Donors then collect coupons, cut them out, sort them into "food" and "non-food" groupings, and total them. The donor will then mail the coupons to the overseas base and forward a report of what they have donated to the OCP. OCP does not re-mail coupons from their headquarters. With no income, OCP has to find a donor to forward the coupons and regrettably if no donor offers to finance the forwarding of the coupons, they must be destroyed. Therefore it is important to note that the cost of mailing coupons from anyone supporting the program to an overseas base, is the same as the cost of mailing the coupons to the OCP headquarters.
OCP tries to update their web site 4 times a year with donations and adoption updates so that you can see your progress. The program operates by internet which is a "no additional cost" type of expense for most donors. This means that annually most of the expense for OCP supporters is the shipping cost of the coupons. You may also participate by "snail" mail (U.S. Postal Service) but the internet is prefered. The program no longer allows for coupons to be sent to OCP headquarters and for OCP to forward them to the base. As was stated above, the cost to mail the coupons to an overseas base is the same as the cost to mail them to any location in the United States. It simply makes sense to send them directly to the base from the donor.
The other item that OCP provides is experience. They can assist a new donor with questions and problems. It helps to have someone who has been there before, available to answer the questions and do the research. OCP's president has been donating for over 15 years as a member of the USS Horizon, a Star Trek chapter. OCP has been heavily supported by Star Trek chapters since it inception.
Eddie Allen and the volunteers that assist him put in over 100 hours a month toward this service. You might say OCP is their free time. They feel that strongly, that those serving our country deserve our support no matter what your politics. This is their little way of saying thanks to those military members and their families.
You can contact the OCP on the internet at their web site: http://www.ocpnet.org.
You may also contact them by snail mail at: Overseas Coupon Program (OCP), P.O. Box 1085, O'Fallon, MO 63366, or 636 "dash" 448 "dash" 1440.