Ship Books to Veterans | Operation Paperback
It is very hard to get me to be motivated about cleaning. As I was going through my bookshelves though and trying to reduce the amount of “stuff” we have, I wondered if there was a program through which I could send these gently loved books to our military veterans and their families and there is! Operation Paperback started in 1999 and volunteers have sent over 1.9 million books around the world.
In addition to overseas locations, Operation Paperback provides books to military and veterans hospitals located within the United States, as well as USO centers at US Airport transit points. In 2012, we also added a new program that offers a free shipment of books to any military family.
Our organization has several ongoing special projects, including:
- Providing books from military Professional Reading Lists to support service member professional development goals;
- Supporting Chaplains as they counsel troops, both before redeployment and after reunification, with a variety of specifically-requested titles;
- Providing Iraqi Phrasebooks for units on the ground so that they may communicate effectively with local populations;
- Supplying books for the annual book give away at NSA Souda Bay in Crete, Greece for service members and their families;
- Supplying children’s books to deployed soldiers who read to their children via webcam or on DVDs
If you’re not convinced, take a couple minutes to read from hundreds of letters sent to Operation Paperback thanking the volunteers for the books!
How it all Started
In 1999, Chief Master Sergeant Rick Honeywell was deployed to a four-month stint in Kuwait. To his dismay, he found himself on a base that had no recreation facilities – no movies, no library, no gymnasium.
Chief Honeywell’s wife, Chrissy, and other Air Force spouses responded by sending the squadron a gigantic care package of candy, games and books. Chrissy’s father, Dan Bowers, became inspired by the situation. He selected paperback books from his own shelves to send overseas. Then he turned to others for contributions. Soon he had collected cases of books and shipped them all to Rick in Kuwait. “Before anyone realized it,” recalls Chrissy, “There were 500 books over in Kuwait, and Rick’s squadron was building bookshelves.” Operation Paperback was born.
Everyone on staff, including the Board Members are all volunteers. Every month, 20,000+ books are sent to troops, veterans, and military families.
For more information, here’s a link to their FAQ: http://www.operationpaperback.org/faq.php
How to Help
There are two ways that you can help Operation Paperback:
- Monetary donation – you will help fund the purchase and shipment of high-demand genres and other special request books.
- Send books directly to troops, veterans and families – volunteer shippers collect and ship your own books using the addresses provided
- Fill out the “Voluntary Agreement” here. (Make sure you confirm your account by clicking on the link within the email automatically generated when you sign up. It will then take 24 hours to verify your account by Operation Paperback staff.)
- Sign in and request addresses of troops overseas, veterans or military families using our automated system. Input the genres you have on hand (mysteries, westerns, etc.) and the system will generate a customized list of names for your use.
- Label your books and insert our standard shipping letter (or your own personal note).
- Pack and address your box using the names provided.
- Send shipments via Media Mail. On average, a box of 20 paperback books will cost about $7 to ship. If some badly-trained clerk tells you that Media Mail cannot go to a military mail address, please ask for a supervisor.
Operation Paperback has been providing books to the military community since 1999. If you’d like to receive books check out the following links:
- Deployed Troops
- Stateside Troops and Veterans
- Military Families (looking for children’s books, etc.)
More about Operation Paperback
Find them on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/OperationPaperback