Krazy Coupon Lady Leverages Build-a-Bear Sale to Give Teddy Bears to 100 Refugee Children

Boise's refugee children take a bus to Build-A-Bear

​The Krazy Coupon Lady started in Boise nine years ago when two cash-strapped, sleep-deprived, stay-at-home moms started blogging about saving money with coupons. Today, the 40-person company is the largest couponing site in the country. Their new headquarters, which sits on the greenbelt in Eagle, contains 1,000 square feet of storage space dedicated to the Krazy Coupon Lady Foundation, a non-profit benefiting the Boise refugee community.

After years of making regular donations of goods purchased with coupons to the Boise International Rescue Committee, owners Heather Wheeler and Joanie Demer established the non-profit arm of the company in 2016. Under the direction of full-time coordinator Makambo Dimathas, a former refugee himself from the Democratic Republic of Congo, the KCL Foundation donated nearly $350,000 in goods and services last year in Boise alone.

“There is no community we’d be more proud to work with,” says Ms. Wheeler. “It’s our privilege to get to know these incredibly resilient families and individuals who are making Boise a better place to live, just by being here.”

When new refugee families arrive in Boise with just the clothes on their backs, there are gaps between needs and resources provided. For example, families are allotted place settings for only the number of individuals in their household; four family members receive four forks, four spoons. Families are provided with beds or cots but no living furniture. Food stamps are provided for the first eight months while adults learn English and get work training, but no stipend for health, beauty or household items is provided. They’re small gaps, but KCL aims to fill them, and they’re doing it while saving 50 percent or more on everything they buy. The KCL Foundation warehouses toys, coats, kitchen items, toiletries, shoes, bedding and more.

“We want families to feel welcome, and our mission is to equip them so that they can thrive in Boise.”

The Krazy Coupon Lady website and app promise to make it easier to shop smarter. Back-to-School deals and Black Friday in July sales make this one of their busiest seasons. Their most popular deal this week? Build-A-Bear’s Pay Your Age sale, running this Thursday, July 12. Each in-store guest accompanied by a Bonus Club member can buy any stuffed animal in stock at the store for just the cost of their age. Five-year-olds pay $5 for stuffed animals that generally cost nearly $30. Any adult can join the Bonus Club for free, anytime.

Joanie Demer explains how they got the idea to place bears in refugee homes this week. “Heather was casually talking about the sale at work yesterday when she said, ‘I wish we had a bus we could drive around all day on Thursday to pick up refugee kids and take them to the mall to buy them each a bear.’ We laughed at the idea and left it at that, but I came home and made a few calls. Then, I rang Heather on the phone after work and said, ‘I got you something. It’s a school bus. Let’s do this.’”

And now the plans are being solidified to shuttle over 100 refugee children from four apartment complexes in Boise to the Towne Square Mall, where they will each get to select and stuff their very own bear, cat, dog or pony — an experience which will, with certainty, be a first for each of them.

“It’s more than a bear and a deal. It’s a welcome wagon, a love bus. And in light of the last two weeks especially, we need a little warmth and comfort in this community. And we think we can deliver a small dose of smiles to accomplish that mission. And getting a good deal never hurt anybody.”

UPDATE: Early Thursday morning, Build-A-Bear announced on their Facebook page that the long lines formed outside their stores posed a safety concern; lines would be closed to all additional guests. Thousands stood outside their stores nationwide — including outside the Boise Towne Square mall location where The Krazy Coupon Lady employees and a hundred refugee children stood. 

In response to the long lines and limited inventory, Build-A-Bear offered $15 coupons to all waiting guests and extended an invitation to The Krazy Coupon Lady to return for a private event on a future date.

As for the refugee children, each child received a stuffed animal purchased by the Krazy Coupon Lady from Kohl's. Plans to bring the kids back to Build-A-Bear on a future date are underway.

For more information plus tips for shopping the Build-A-Bear Pay Your Age Sale, visit

Source: Krazy Coupon Lady

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