The Books for Troops two-room office in the old Halfmoon town hall, 1 Halfmoon Plaza, has been moved to its basement. The space is much smaller. We have lost the capacity for 10 bookcases, housing about 1200 paperback books and the space for most the materials to complete a shipment of books.The average shipment of books is 3000 books. These shipments go out about every 2 weeks. In addition our new office space is not heated, except for the heat that comes from the upstairs heated part of the building. Since the door needs to be closed to also keep the cold from the outside door reaching the space, little to no heat enters that area. In addition, because the space is in the basement, dollies are ineffective in helping to carry heavy boxes of books up and down the stairs and must be done manually. This requires the lifting of very heavy boxes by people often limited in body strength. Books to be sorted and stored because of lack of space at the office are kept in donated garages several miles off site and then must be lugged to the office to replenish the shelves. The very cold temperatures slows this process down considerably, since little work can be done in the garages when the temperatures drops below 40 degrees.
In summary, Books for Troops needs a space large enough to accommodate about 50 thiry inch bookcases, 2 long tables, a wall of boxes and a few extra bookcases for organizational purposes. The office needs to be heated and air-conditioned with weekend access since many volunteers are only available on weekends. It also needs public access during work hours. It would be best if it had first floor access or an elevator so that heavy boxes can easily be carried in and out using doilies. What we are asking for is a miracle, but our track record for the past 5 years has proven that we are dedicated and sincere about our mission-to bring a quality of life to the troops through books. We received a letter from a captain in Kuwait who says, "Thank you so very much for your generous gift of books and kind words of support. Reading has been a great source of escape and release for me especially after a very difficult day. It helps me remember what I love about home so much and why I am here to protect it. I am extremely humbled and cannot express how many pleasant hours have passed even in this wartorn country because of your books. I am extremely grateful. Capt. C.
Please help us to continue our work with a little less discomfort and bodily stress. If you have a large space and are willing to donate it to us for Books for Troops, please contact Ellen Keegan, founder and director of Books for Troops at email@example.com. This space is not for our organization but for the troops that benefit from it. To date we have sent well over 400,000 books to our troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa and to 20 VA hospitals across the nation. We hope to send thousands more. If you can, please help make it easier.
UPDATE: As of Feb. 5th we have receieved only one response to our request for a new office. That one was from Rensselaer. While we were very grateful for the offer, the distance from our community base was too far so we declined. Please use any influence you have to try to get us a new space. It might effect whether there is a future for Books for Troops.
Books for Troops' donors has asked that the collection boxes be returned for book donations. This will be done on Feb. 15th. However, the DMV's in Saratoga and Ballston Spa will not resume their collections until further notice because of health reasons. There were multiple reasons why the boxes were taken away. One of the primary reasons was that some people were using the collection sites as dumping grounds for cleaning out basements and attics. We were getting thousands of unusable books from dirty, old musty, smelly torn paperbacks, to old ledgers, tax manuals, textbooks, outdated enclyopedias, law books, outdated and old hard-covers. These books are heavy to carry by those who must remove them from our collection sites and take hours to sort and dispose of in our unheated garage. They also are often too heavy to mail because postage is based on weight and too heavy for soldiers to carry if they even wanted those types of books. Please honestly ask yourself, would a soldier in a warzone or recovering from an injury in a hospital want to read this book. If the answer is don't please do not leave it. If you do, you are not donating; you are dumping. Our soldiers deserve the best and we will only send the best. For those hundreds of people who have given us thousands of quality books, we thank you with all our heart. We have received countless letters from soldiers over the years telling how much they have enjoyed these books. Please keep them coming and help keep our high standards easeir to keep. The books we need donated are: popular soft covered and hard-covered books in excellent condition. The troops like crime/trhillers, mysteries, westerns, sci/fi, fantasy, popular fiction, mind/body connection, military history and fiction, women's fiction, limited romance, classics, sel-improvement, comedy. They are also asking for puzzle books of all kinds, magazines of sports, cars, body building, women's, Sport's Illustrated, People, and women's magazines.
The other reason we pulled the collection site for awhile is that we still do not have a space big enough to accommodate all the books that we are collecting from both the book sites and the book drives. We are very much in need of a larger, heated space on the first floor.
Again, thank you for all those people who donate quality of books that provide hours of escape to our troops both deployed and in our hospitals. We are now serviding 25 hospitals including the American Red Cross.
Both the injured troops and those deployed continue to need distraction from a very difficult exisitence. One of the things they continually request are puzzle books (especially find the word) of all kinds, cards, dice and poker chips. If they help them to escape for awhile, please help us to send them. They may be dropped in our book sites along with the books. The smallest thing makes the biggest difference. Each donation tells them that someone cares and supports them. Shenenedehowa High School East is the first school who has agreed to do a large book drive to receive donations of puzzle books. Their principal has been very enthusiastic about this communtiy service activity to have his students support the troops and will make it a huge success. If there are any other schools who would be willing to do a puzzle book drive or just a book drive, please contact Books for Troops at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Looking for Comic Books for the Troops
Books For Troops, Inc. is continuing to look for donations of comic books to send to our troops overseas. The comics must be in decent condition and may be dropped off at any of our book donation locations: Clifton Park Town Hall; Halfmoon Town Hall; Print & Graphics Group, Fire Road in Clifton Park; Red Robin in Clifton Park and Latham, DMV in Ballston Spa and Saratoga. Be sure to put the comics in a protective bag and write “comics” on it. For large donations, email email@example.com. No comics to donate? Send a check for $12.50 to help with mailing the comics to Books For Troops, Inc., 152
"I have read comics all my life and they have been a big part of my life since childhood. It is nice to read stories about super-heroes in print, but it is an honor to real life super heroes in action saving lives everyday in Afghanistan. " Rob
"I decided to ask for comics because it was a medium that tied our team together." Smith
"The note about sending us comics has all the troops in D Co. astir, we are a big comic loving group here," and
are looking forward to the escape they'll give us. Matt
This note is for Books for Troops and the amazing care package they put together for this soldier. ...I just received a care package full of comic books and graphic novels. ...You have hit the biggest home run in care packages. You packed that box as if you have known me for years. My most heartfelt gratitude to you for making home seem not quite so far away. ...Your efforts have made all the difference in the world to me. "
medic in Afghanistan
Your donation of $12.50 will keep the comics moving to those who truly need the Escape!!
ALex Gerage making a difference from
Alex Gerage a volunteer from Illinois has just sent us over 3000 comics to be sent to the troops. He first learned about Books for Troops in the spring of 2012 when he read an article about Ellen's efforts to send comics to the soldiers after realizing from many of their responses how popular they were. As a fan of comics and interested in an opportunity to give back to the military, Alex joined Books for Troops in June of 2012 as its first "out of state member" His sole goal was to share his love of superheroes with those who serve, and provide them a means of escape from their daily sacrifices and hardships.
What began as donating a few issues from his modest comic collection has since grown into a comprehensive effort to bring thousands of comics to the American troops all over the country in the VA hospitals and deployed around the world, especially those in combat zones. With the help of family, friends, three Chicagoland comic book stores and (counting) , Alex has organized a series of comic book drives, fundraisers and individual donations on behalf of Books for Troops. In total, Alex has helped send over 7000comics and raise over $500 in donations, as well as encourage another company in the Chicago area to donate another $500 to alleviate the shipping costs from Illinois to Clifton Park. These totals are growing by the week.
The letters of appreciation he has received he has received from the troops overseas and the VA hospitals has been proof that his efforts have not been in vain. He looks forward to making even bigger and better contributions on behalf of Books for Troops in the future.
Alex has done the hard part and gotten the comics for the troops and raised the money to get them to our office in Clifton Park. However, we still need the money to ship them to our troops that are deployed or in the VA hospitals. It costs $15 to ship 100 comics either overseas or within the country. Please help us pay for these shipping costs by donating to Books for Troops, 152 Oak Brook Commons, Clifton Park, NY 12065
Also maybe other states could model what Illinois did through Alex's efforts and pool some comic book stores together to send us comics. One VA doctor said, "He never saw smiles until the comics came in." Help to put a smile on someone who needs to smile so much. Send a donation or some comics that are in good taste.THANK YOU !!! THANK YOU! THANK YOU !!! Alex. You are tops among the troops and among Books for Troops.
All comics may be dropped off locally at all drop-off points listed. Please place the comics in a bag to protect them.
Alex has decided to send the comics directly from his home to the troops and the hospitals. This requires a lot of extra work on his part, but lessens our work load considerably and even better cuts in half our expense of sending the comics. Previously Alex either had to raise the money to send the comics to us or we had to send him money for their postage and then we had to box them and pay the postage again to send them to the troops. Now he is willing to do his own boxing and sorting and mail them directly, saving us paying for them twice. Thanks, Alex. Even from Illinois you are a great volunteer making a huge difference for our troops. They will never stop loving the comics you so magically make appear. You create smiles in places where they are seldom seen. You must sleep soundly at night knowing what happiness you create.
Jen Blood, an author herself, has a unique idea for a book-drive. With an extensive network of fellow writers to draw from, she started to think of ways authors could help the troops' quality of life. She asked herself, "What would it mean to the troops to receive a signed copy of an author's book with a special message from the author delivered to the field." From now until March 1st, she is personally gathering novels by traditionally and independent authors. These books will be gathered together and shipped to Books for Troops where they will send them overseas or to the hospitals where they will provide soldiers sacrificing so much for our country "with a welcome break from the stark reality they face while serving their country."
Jen Blood is the author of the bestselling book, Erin Solomon mysteries, and owner of Adian Editing and Publishing Services.
We are very grateful to Jen for taking time from her busy schedule to do this very worthwhile and unique book drive. The effect it will have on morale will be incredible. What a wonderful reminder to the troops that they are remembered. Thanks Jen.