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Soldier Charity Faces Closure: Corporate Donations Dry Up
Booksforsoldiers.com has sent thousands of care
packages to our troops deployed outside the US since March 2003. But Booksforsoldiers.com is in dire financial need now, and may close. The site must raise $22,000 by October 31 or it will stop taking new requests on December 1, finish filling remaining care package requests for the holidays, and cease operations December 31.
“It’s a bad economy,” says Storm Williams, the founder and webmaster. “Times are tough for all non profits.” Williams says they had an aggressive fundraising campaign that started the first of 2008.
Corporations they had previously relied upon have been unable to repeat their support this year. “By April, we received a stack of letters that began with, ‘we deeply regret not being able to donate this year.’”
Starting in May, they tried again, managing to shrink a $53,000 deficit to $22,000 by September’s end. They also asked for help from deployed troops, sending them US flags to fly in Iraq and Afghanistan to give as thank-you gifts for the more generous donors. “We are so grateful,” said David, one of the site’s moderators trying to drum up fundraising. “Soldiers and Marines have flown flags for us, sending them back with certificates signed by their Commanders. It’s an activity we used to arrange for the members. It was a lot of fun, 2-3 times a year and most importantly, for free. Now it’s just to survive.”
“Right now, we are just looking to get donations. The regular members have been awesomely generous, but can only do so much.” Williams jokes, “BFS has always been in survival mode.”
“We use our website. Soldiers, Marines, airmen, sailors and Coast Guard make requests at http://www.booksforsoldiers.com. The site is secure; we restrict access to those who’ve been approved to send packages.”
“With our financial difficulties, we’ve not been able to upgrade. The member-approval process is still by hand from snail-mail applications. We had hoped to hire a programmer to make the site more responsive. We are pursuing a number of avenues for fundraising, looking forward to 2009 and beyond, but there is the very real possibility we will close in 2008.” Williams concluded, “We’re broke. Our parent organization gave us an ultimatum to stand on our own in 2008. We have not been able to do that yet.”
Donations are gratefully accepted, either through PayPal on the site’s donation page ( http://booksforsoldiers.com/donate.php ), or by check payable and mailed to
Books For Soldiers
2008 Fund Drive
116 Lowes Food Drive #123
Lewisville, NC 27023