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Giving back to the troops: Donating your books to soldiers

Apr 30, 2012, 9:39 a.m.

If you're a veteran who served your country proudly, or are always talking about how much you appreciate the contributions of servicemen and servicewomen of the U.S. armed forces, there are a number of ways that you can donate to troops that are both effective and inexpensive.

One way to accomplish this is by donating your gently used books. Operation Paperback has been -- well, in operation -- since 1999, and is a non-profit organization that has shipped close to two million books worldwide to soldiers stationed throughout the world. By donating books to Operation Paperback, you can not only support our troops by letting them know you care, but you can also accomplish several other things you might not have thought of.

  1. Expose a young soldier to classic books they may not otherwise ever read. This is a truly wonderful opportunity to share your personal love of literature with someone you've never met, but whose service and sacrifice is vital to ensuring our continued freedoms and way of life.
  2. Give a physically wounded or emotionally scarred soldier a valuable tool that they can use to recover from their trauma.
  3. Help a soldier deal with the loneliness of separation from their friends and loved ones by giving them the materials needed to occupy their minds.
  4. Donate to troops to help improve literacy levels of those in the field, ensuring that once they return home from their time of service they're better educated and thus more capable of going far in their desired careers.
  5. Declutter your home of piles of old books and take satisfaction in knowing that your efforts have made a difference in the life of a U.S. soldier.

How Can I Get Involved?

It's actually very simple. Your first step will be to register with Operation Paperback. Once you've created a user ID and password for the website, you'll be given access to a full listing of addresses throughout the world where you can mail your books. Although paperbacks are preferred, it is possible to send hardcover books as well. There are alternate addresses to send hardcover books listed on the website.

Before you send your books, consider adding a personalized letter of appreciation that will be read by the soldiers receiving your generous donation. Doing so is yet another impactful way to support our troops as they place their lives on the line for the sake of those they've never met.

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