Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Operation Paperback party was a success! 

I've been doing this, sending books to troops for at least 2 years, and it is incredibly rewarding. I love the occasional thank you note or postcard people take the time to write, and I have a few pen pal-type correspondences going with some men and women overseas (I take care to mention my husband at least once during these penpal letters - I don't want people to think I'm looking for a boyfriend!).

During my last office job, I asked coworkers to drop off any books or magazines they didn't want anymore. I had a steady stream of books coming in. Then I started to run low (as in, I only had women's lit and uninteresting history and really old sci-fi that didn't seem too appealing). A few light bulbs went off - I don't know my neighbors as well as I'd like, having missed all the summer block parties. Having kids draw pictures to include in the packages could be a neat morale-booster, and I have plenty of paper and markers and stickers. Customs forms are hell to fill out, so I hoped to enlist help from adults with those, and I was very glad a few people gave me a few dollars to help with postage (at $5 a package, and sending 10 packages every few weeks, it adds up). And so many people brought over books. I've also found the library book sales a good place for books. They sell paperbacks for 50 cents, and downstairs there are free books for the taking (it does take some sifting through lots of junk, but I last came back with a few dozen action / sci-fi / history books that were appropriate.

The party went well (though I bought too much food) ;) . I plan to host another, and give people more advance notice, in a month or two. Maybe Valentine's Day? Or wait a few months, and send kids' letters with a Flag Day theme? I'm too hostessed out to think too much about the next, and I have some heavy bags of packages to take to the post office tomorrow (I'm getting strong, carrying all these books).

Yea! I'm in such a good mood. I'm glad this went so well. I'm always nervous playing hostess, scared that I won't make my guests comfortable. But it went very, very well. I want to do this again!

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