Article and audio introduction by Samantha Kennedy, Family and Consumer Sciences
What Is Operation Paperback?
The UF/IFAS Wakulla County Extension Family and Consumer Sciences program is proud to announce its support for “Operation Paperback,” a nonprofit organization that provides free books and other reading materials to active duty troops, veterans, and military families around the world.
According to the Operation Paperback website (www.operationpaperback.org), more than 2.2 million books have been sent to military members and their families since 1999. How does it work? People register with the organization to be a volunteer sender. Once their application has been approved, they sign in with their credentials, select the genres of books they have available, and request a list of recipients requesting books in those genres. The sender then matches books with the recipients and mails them off. It is just that easy!
The genres of books are varied, from leadership to finance to horror to everything in between. The most frequently requested genres from recipients are action/adventure, suspense/thrillers, biographies, history, bestsellers, science fiction/fantasy, true crime, and children’s books for military families.
It is recommended that each recipient receives between 10-20 books per shipment, though the number of books is ultimately decided by the sender. Larger recipients, such as base libraries and VA hospitals can often receive much larger shipments.
How It Works
Volunteers can also sign up to be on the “Special Requests” list, where very specific – and often rare – requests from recipients can be filled. For example, two recent special requests involved a specific Navy Seal leadership book for Marines and a variety of books to help wounded veterans as they recover in the hospital. Many of these requests can be fulfilled through Amazon wish lists set up specifically for the recipient. Volunteers can purchase the book from Amazon and have it shipped directly to the recipient.
For some people, the time and cost of collecting, sorting, boxing, and mailing books may be a hindrance. If that is the case, there are simpler ways to support this worthy cause. The first one is by donating money to help support the purchase of books and shipping costs. The second way is to donate books to a local Operation Paperback collection point.
How You Can Help
The Wakulla County Extension office is now serving as an Operation Paperback collection point. The Family and Consumer Sciences program promotes health and wellness for families and individuals and since research shows that reading positively contributes to brain health and mental wellbeing, supporting Operation Paperback is a natural fit.
Want to contribute? Simply bring gently used books to the Wakulla County Extension office at 84 Cedar Avenue in Crawfordville, Monday – Friday between 8am and 5pm. You can also help cover the cost of postage by leaving a small cash donation of any amount along with the books.
There are a few guidelines, however. No pornography or explicit materials. No racist materials. No romance novels, as the troops are getting a disproportionate number of these and are not interested in them. Also, hardcovers are accepted, but paperbacks are very much preferred.
We here at Wakulla Extension are excited about this opportunity to support military members and their families while promoting a love of reading and look forward to continued support for this effort from our local community.
For more information about Operation Paperback, please call Samantha Kennedy, Family and Consumer Sciences agent, at (850) 926-3931.