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Operation Paperback

Operation Paperback

I have always enjoyed reading.  I take advantage of borrowing books from the library and I am a sucker for a used book sale.  Today’s organization is helping provide books to those in the military who are deployed far from libraries and book sales.

In 1999, Chief Master Sergeant Rick Honeywell was deployed to a base in the Middle East without access to much in the way of relaxation or entertainment.  Dan M. Bowers, Rick’s father-in-law, decided to help him out.  He sent over 800 paperback books to Rick, creating the first Operation Paperback library overseas.  Rick’s wife, Chrissy Honeywell, thought this was a one-time occurrence, but her dad had a larger mission in mind.  Dan put stickers in the books to let the troops know how to write and request books.  He also started looking for other locations which needed books.  This was the founding of Operation Paperback.

The mission of Operation Paperback is to provide reading material to any military who requests it.  Their original mission was to support deployed troops who were in locations without access to reading material or other entertainment, but today many overseas locations have libraries of paperback books due to the 14 years of help from volunteers.  So, their mission has been expanded to reach veterans hospitals as well as individual veterans and military families in the United States and abroad.

The Operation Paperback is incorporated in Pennsylvania and their administrative location is in the Boston area, but they have individual and group volunteers spread across the United States.

Each volunteer or group of volunteers collects, labels, packs and sends their books directly to a troops, veterans, or military families.  Many thank you notes are sent directly back from the military directly to the volunteers.  This personal connection is what makes Operation Paperback unique according to current administrator, Chrissy Honeywell.  You can see examples of the thank you notes sent from troops on their website.

In 2012, Operation Paperback had 16,000 volunteers and sent 20,000 books per month.  Since their founding in 1999, volunteers have shipped almost two million books to troops, veterans, and military families.  Occasionally, the organization sends special requests to their volunteers.  For the past several months, they have been supporting a Behavioral Health Unit in a veteran’s hospital with self-help books and other personal care items.  This special project has helped young warriors dealing with post-traumatic stress and other personal issues.

How can you help? 

  • Anyone can participate by becoming a volunteer shipper.  Once you have registered with Operation Paperback, you can use their website to determine who could use the books you have.  Then you label and pack the books, include a letter and ship the box.  You can send a single shipment or several, it is up to you.  Learn more and sign up here.
  • You can also make monetary donations to help support the program including website costs and special requests.  Learn more and make a donation on their website.
  • You can also help by spreading the word.  Simply share this blog post on Facebook, Twitter, etc. using the options at the bottom of the post.

To learn more about Operation Paperback, please visit their website operationpaperback.org.  You can also follow them on Facebook.

 
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Posted by on February 13, 2013 in Nonprofit Organization

 

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Second Chance Toys

Second Chance Toys

Many organizations serve one mission.  Today’s organization found a way to do two good things with one organization. 

Sasha Lipton - Second Chance Toys Founder

Sasha Lipton – Second Chance Toys Founder

Sasha Lipton started serving her community at a young age.  She spent time with her father delivering food to homebound seniors for Meals on Wheels.  She also worked at soup kitchens and sponsored a child from the Dominican Republic through Children International.  During the summer of 2006, Sasha volunteered as a counselor at Camp Sunshine, a retreat for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families.  It was during that summer that the idea behind Second Chance Toys was born.  She spent time driving around neighboring towns with her mom and noticed many toys being disposed of at the curb.  Most of the toys appeared as good as new and Sasha thought about how wasteful it was to discard of these toys and that many children would love to have them.

Second Chance Toys is now a 501c3 nonprofit corporation with a mission to rescue and recycle plastic toys for children in need by donating them to community organizations.  The second part of the mission is to keep the non-biodegradable plastic toys out of landfills.  These toys are reused by giving them to children in need.  The toys can enhance the development of these children by promoting socialization, creativity, emotional security, motor skills, and learning. 

Second Chance Toys is headquartered in New Jersey, but they work in communities all over the United States and Australia.  As of spring of 2012, the organization reached the milestone of 112,949 toys donated.

Why are toys so important?  Play is the “work” of young children.  Babies use toys to develop their motor skills and learn how to control their bodies.  Toys provide motivation for them to learn to reach, grasp, roll, sit, crawl, stand, and walk.  Toddlers learn concepts of weight, shape, color and size through play.  According to research from the National Institute for Early Education, without sufficient toys, children do not develop necessary motor skills.  Studies also show that infant toys are critical for brain growth that affects learning later in life.  As children grow, toys provide opportunities for laughter, fun, and inquisitive exploration of the world. These are critical opportunities for the healthy emotional, intellectual, and physical development of children.

About 32 million children in the United States are from low-income families, according to the National Center for Children in Poverty.   The toys donated through Second Chance Toys make a world of difference in the life of a these children and help keep non-biodegradable plastics out of our landfills.

Below are some opportunities to help Second Chance Toys put smiles on the faces of some very deserving children in your own community:

  • Donate your plastic toys to get them to kids who need them.  You can search for the nearest drop off location on their website
  • Volunteer to collect gently used plastic toys in your community during the Spring collection in April and the Holiday collection in November/December.  You can register your collection and find their collection starter kit here.
  • You can also make a monetary donation via their website.
  • There are a variety of opportunities to volunteer your time.  You can sign-up as a volunteer on their website.
  • If your company is interested in becoming a corporate sponsor for Second Chance Toys, please take a look at their sponsor page.
  • You can show your support with a variety of Second Chance Toys merchandise available on their website.
  • If you are a blogger, consider sharing the mission of Second Chance Toys.  Learn more here.
  • You can also share this post and/or the video below to spread the story about the opportunity to donate toys.

Check out their website at www.secondchancetoys.org to get involved.  You can also connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

 
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Posted by on October 16, 2012 in Nonprofit Organization

 

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