The last of the 200 boxes of paperback books have been signed, sealed and delivered to military troops serving overseas thanks to the efforts of the local community and Genesee Community College’s Student Activities staff. Last spring’s Operation Paperback used book drive at Genesee has been officially labeled a success with over 5,000 books donated and sent to military personnel.
The Books for Troops initiative was originally the idea of Genesee student Tom Maniace, who used it as a required project for his Resident Assistant position at College Village. The response from the college and the local community was so overwhelming, that the Student Activities staff stepped in and lent a hand sorting, packaging and sending out approximately 200 boxes of paperback books. The mailings began in April and were finally complete at the end of July.
“We anticipated 300-400 books,” Cliff Scutella, Director of Student Activities at Genesee said. “The community was just so responsive. It was really a wonderful and heartwarming experience. People embraced this project and were enthusiastic about it. I had no idea the extent of generosity this community has.”
The book drive began in the early spring and calls to the Student Activities office about donating books quickly started. On several occasions, College Village staff members even drove to the homes of elderly community residents to pick up books that they could not deliver themselves. Additionally, the College’s employees and a local bookstore donated several books to aid in the collection efforts.
The book drive took an immense amount of logistical planning. Through Operation Paperback, there were many steps required to ensure the boxes of books reached the hands of the troops. Each book needed to be sorted according to genre, labeled with an Operation Paperback label and a letter was inserted in each box. From there the efforts of the Mail Room at Genesee were appreciated as 20 boxes were mailed at a time.
“The mail room at Genesee and the local Post Office were extremely helpful and diligent, we really had no problems getting all those boxes out,” Scutella said.
Due to the success of Operation Paperback, Genesee will be offering the book collection drive once again in the 2009-2010 academic year. This year it will be offered in conjunction with Genesee’s Fifth Annual Eco-Fest on Saturday, April 17, 2010. Community members will be able to bring in their used paperback books during a one day drop-off at Eco-Fest. Scutella noted that Books for Troops is a perfect fit for Eco-Fest.
“Community members now have an outlet for donating their used books. It will go hand-in-hand with the other recycling initiatives available at Eco-Fest, such as the E-Scrap drive and the sneaker recycling program.”
Operation Paperback collects gently used paperback books and sends them to American troops deployed overseas. Since 1999, they have shipped over 800,000 books to locations around the globe. Operation Paperback works with volunteer groups to provide them with addresses of military groups overseas. Every week Operation Paperback receives thanks from troops who are glad to be appreciated and remembered. For more information, visit www.operationpaperback.org.
For further information, please contact Student Activities at 585-343-0055 x6261.