1 – BECOME A VOLUNTEER
Before you can be given access to the troop requests posted on the BFS bulletin board, you must first register for an account. You can get one HERE. This will give you access to most troop requests. There are some requests that require OpSec (operational security), meaning they cannot post their address publicly. These addresses are post in our Soldiers Requesting Privacy forum. To gain access to these sensitive addresses, you must become an Official Volunteer (OV). To become an OV, you must complete the brief application form (download the PDF here), have it notarized and mail it to us. We realize this is complicated, but we do this to help keep the soldiers safe.
2 – GET AN ADDRESS
Once you are approved as an Official BFS Volunteer, go to our online bulletin board and review the requests posted from soldiers, airmen, marines, and sailors; there are hundreds of them! Scroll through the names and pick someone whose request has not yet been filled.
We also list requests for larger units of troops (e.g., platoons, companies); you may be especially interested in responding to these requests if you have a large number of books or other items to send.
3 – SEND A BOOK OR OTHER REQUESTED CARE PACKAGE ITEMS
Try to send what the troop requests (some will just request “anything”). It’s fine to send used books, DVDs, or CDs; if you have old paperback books that are in good shape, send them (note, though, that it is illegal to send pornography to the areas where most deployed military personnel are now serving). You may also wish to include other needed items to fill the package. See our Care Package Help guide for ideas!
Try to send packages in something about the size of a shoe box or similar for quick delivery. The post office also has flat rate boxes that are a good size for mailing to troops. Be sure to include a note and your email address in your package; you could come away with a pen pal!
4 – TELL US ABOUT IT
If you send a package, post what you sent on the bulletin board under the troop’s name. This keeps them from getting multiple copies of the same item and helps us keep track of when requests are filled.
5 – DONATE FUNDS
We try to fulfill all requests that are left unfilled by people at home. Our average cost for a book or care package going to a soldier overseas is about $20; this includes, for example, a book, postage, a brief note, and a small care package. Your donation is deeply appreciated.
5 – SUBMIT A REQUEST FOR A LOVED ONE
If you have a loved one who is serving overseas, submit a request for him or her through the form on the BFS homepage, or ask BFS staff to post a request on the bulletin board and BFS and our Official Volunteers will try to fulfill the request.
6 – TELL OTHERS ABOUT US
If you have co-workers or friends who have family members serving, please tell them about us. We also ask that you mention us in your church bulletin or organization’s newsletter. You can also email your friends about our site or add our button to your website. All help is appreciated. We are always looking for more volunteers!