LODI (CBS13) – A nonprofit in Lodi has a new way to make the dollar stretch further, and it’s making a difference in the lives of more than 1,500 families in need.

Tana Sheldon says she came onto hard times when she moved to Lodi five years ago.

“I lost my job and I was kind of struggling,” said Sheldon.

And with three children and grandchildren to help support, Sheldon turned to Building Blocks in Lodi.

“They give you food here; that helped a lot,” she said.

Organization Director Kathy McClelland says she doesn’t want anyone to go without and so she helps in any way she can.

“We try to inspire people from the inside out tell them they’re valuable and they have worth,” said McClelland.

But even she admits in this economy it’s hard when monetary donations are down and the need is up.

“It’s probably been devastating for everyone,” said McClelland.

Thinking outside the box, they turned to coupons to buy food and household and baby products for families.

“It helps us a lot — a great, great amount,” said McClelland.

While many see a few cents off, couponer Elba Peterson sees dollar signs.

“It’s money. It’s free money!” said Peterson.

And she’s using it to get free food for families.

“We ended up getting 20 sausages for free from Dollar Tree with coupons — some allergy medication for free,” said Peterson.

“Due to her, just recently we’ve been able to do things we’ve not been able to do for some time,” said McClelland.

So with each clip, Peterson knows it will help.

“We went and got 80 boxes of Hamburger Helper. That feeds 40 families,” said Peterson.

“It’s just like, ‘woah,’ I’m just so glad she jumped on board and said, ‘hey let’s do couponing,’” said McClelland.

Lodi Building Blocks welcomes coupon donations. They’re also welcoming new families in the Lodi surrounding area who need assistance.

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