Books Bring Smiles to Veterans and their Families During the Pandemic

First Book regularly works with programs that support the military and their families – and this spring, we launched additional outreach to support veterans. With the COVID-19 restrictions, veterans receiving care in VA hospitals and facilities across the country are experiencing extended stays and limited social interaction opportunities. 

To help these patients overcome trauma, stress and boredom while healing from injuries, First Book has partnered with the national office of the Veterans Health Administration (VA) to provide tens of thousands of books to VA hospitals, as well as to the non-profit Help Heal Veterans.  

“VA hospitals serve a wide variety of patients – both inpatient and at veterans’ homes and care facilities,” said Christa Evans, First Book’s Vice President of Development. “In these facilities are men and women who have served in the United States Armed Forces, including retired and homeless veterans. We have been delighted to bring books to brighten the days of veterans in more than 40 VA facilities – and counting!”

First Book’s book distributions, made possible through the generosity of First Book’s publishing partners, included adult coloring books, activity, self-help, fiction and nonfiction books — bringing mile-wide smiles to veterans across the country.

“The books have been keeping the veterans busy, as they don’t have many options because of the virus outbreak. They couldn’t have come at a better time,” said a VA staff worker from Oregon. “We have been getting vets utilizing the coloring books daily in our art and therapeutic groups, and have gotten a lot of positive remarks, and many thanks.”

Another program staff person told us: “Your organization’s donation of novels and adult coloring books have been greatly appreciated by Veterans in our Short Term Stabilization Rehabilitation Unit and also by Veterans on our Psychiatric Unit here at the Malcom Randall VA Medical Center. During this time of COVID it is nice to have these items for our captive audience; it gives our Veterans something to focus on as staff focuses on providing the Veterans with the best health care possible. The educational books are being used in many programs with patients such as nutrition and food service. We thank you for all your organization has done to provide betterment of our Nation’s Heroes.”

(Note:  The books distributed through this initiative are from the First Book National Book Bank. These brand new books are generously donated by our publishing partners and are available to First Book members for only the cost of shipping & handling—the books are FREE! You can also find these books throughout the First Book Marketplace— just look for the red Book Bank badge.)

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