REED CITY \u2014 After receiving boxes of books shipped from the United States, a grateful unit of U.S. Marines stationed overseas built a bookshelf to hold their new reading material. \u201cI want to give a personal thank you on behalf of the soldiers in my unit for your donation,\u201d wrote a U.S. Marine in a thank-you letter to Reed City resident Jerry Minier, who sent a box of books through the Books for Soldiers program. \u201cThank you for helping to improve our situation over here.\u201d To help make a difference in the lives of those serving the country, the Reed City Library began donating their books and participating in the Books for Soldiers program in May. Minier brought the idea to the library after participating in the program herself. \u201cMy idea behind all of this was to get our library and our town involved in these soldiers\u2019 lives because they are making a sacrifice by being away from home,\u201d Minier said. \u201cWhen they\u2019re on duty their lives are at stake. When they\u2019re off duty they\u2019re inside, waiting until it\u2019s time to go on duty again. These books make such a difference.\u201d Since the library began participating in the project, 10 boxes of books have been shipped to U.S. soldiers overseas. Each box was sponsored by individuals from the community. \u201cWe have had new people coming in the library just to adopt boxes,\u201d said Reed City Library director Heather Symon. \u201cWe\u2019ve also had some people with prior armed forces service who come in and ask about it.\u201d The library packages two flat-rate boxes which are available for adoption each month. The library supplies the books to send out of their stock of donated and used books. By donating $13.45 per box, individuals can support a box to be sent to any number of armed forces bases around the world. Through the Books for Soldiers program, service personnel post requests on www.booksforsoldiers.com. They specify the types of books their unit would like to read. The library chooses the recipient group based on which book requests they are able to fill from their stock. \u201cWe have plenty of books to be able to do this with,\u201d Symon said. \u2018We\u2019ve been able to send (up to) 25 (books in one box).\u201d While books keep soldiers occupied during down time, overseas units also are in need of general hygeine and household items. The library accepts donations for items such as hand wipes, batteries, dental floss, mouth wash and other necessities to include in boxes with the books. Along with filling the literary and day-to-day needs of service personnel overseas, some people who sponsor boxes at the library also send letters to the units. \u201cWe encourage (sponsors) to include a card or a letter,\u201d Symon said. \u201cWhen you write a letter, you can include your contact information and a lot times people end up with a pen pal.\u201d Minier was thrilled when she received a letter back from a Marine. She chose the Marines to send books to herself because many members of her family have served in the corp. in the past. If other individuals want to send a box of books, they can choose which group they would like it to go to. \u201cIf they have a soft spot in their heart for Marines, it can go to the Marines,\u201d Minier said. \u201cThey can choose any branch of the service that they want to send it to. I don\u2019t think the war is going to end right away, so let\u2019s do it as long as we can.\u201d People who want to send their own books can do so by visiting www.booksforsoldiers.com and choose a request to fulfill. Those interested in participating in the library\u2019s program can visit the Reed City Library, located at 410 West Upton Avenue in Reed City.