Care packages and other ways to support the troops !
If you have found your way here you may want to consider joining your local chapter of Care Packages Anonymous, as you will find out, sending packages is one way those of us at home can show our support and it just makes you feel GOOD ! If you cannot find one of these (fictional) chapters at home feel free to come visit us on the board and share your addiction. Here's some of the ideas for care packages we have shared on the board, some of these may have been taken from other sites to be shared so we do not claim credit for them, just want to be able to share them.
Down below are several links for other ways to show your support, please take a minute to check them out.
Stephanie(duchessnmalley) posted these ideas for themed care packages
I found this on a website. Thought it was really cool and kinda made me a tiny bit sad that I don't send DH care packages anymore because he's home.
Surviving the Sandstorms- Eye wash; Nasal spray; Chapstick; Bandana; goggles/sun glasses; etc
Laundry Load- Laundry soap (sample size or Tide tablets kind) to pack in with their clothes .in case there are no washer/dryers; Fabric softener sheets; clean socks and undershirts; Febreeze
Lotta Java- Tea; Cocoa; Coffee singles; creamer; sugar; International Coffee tins; cookies for dunking in coffee
Thanks a Million!!- Things that may seem expensive. Ex: Grey Poupon; electronic game of Who wants to be a Millionaire?; small amount of cash; wrap items in green tissue paper.
Hang in There!- Stuffed animal monkey; Banana bread; Banana chips; Banana pudding (the kind that doesnt have to be refrigerated); Monkeys in a Barrel game; card with a monkey on it.
A Day at the Beach!- sunscreen; beach towel; beach snacks; flip flop sandals (shower shoes); aloe vera gel;
Medicine Cabinet- aspirin; band-aids; Neosporin cream; A&D ointment; cold medicine; alka seltzer; Rolaids; etc.
Staying Healthy- nutrition/health bars (ex: Powerbar; Tigers Milk; Myoplex); vitamins; Nutri-grain bars; Gatorade or other sports drink (to stay hydrated);
MRE/Mess Hall Survival Kit- restaurant size condiment packs of: bbq sauce, mustard, ketchup, mayo, relish, salt. Pepper, taco sauce, ranch, cheese in a can dip, etc
Correspondence Carton- notebook paper; stationery; pens; pencils; stickers (who knows they may even play with these!!); envelopes, address book (filled out already of course); camera (with a note to send back once it is full);
Action Heros- Powerbars; squirt guns; Red Bull drinks; small Army figurines; comic books; Gatorade; Red Bull drinks; etc
To Be A Kid Again- silly string; bubbles; small bouncy balls; hacky sacks; brain teaser toys (rubix cube, etc); deck of cards; dominoes; slinky, Frisbees; Pez w/ dispenser; Nerf balls; sand box toys (pail, small shovel, etc);
Bathroom in a Box- TOILET PAPER!!! (the soft stuff); razor refills; foot powder; bars of soap; fresh, clean, soft washcloth; travel size shampoo/conditioner; toothpaste; toothbrush; etc
Ruck Sack Snack Pack- packed full of your loved ones favorite snacks .possibilities endless. Doritos; M&Ms; nuts; chips; dips; crackers; jelly beans; beef jerky; gum; etc.
Breakfast on the GO- mutrigrain bars; instant oatmeal cups; small boxes of cereal; pop tarts; Hostess donuts: Otis Spunk Meyer muffins; cocoa; coffee; Tang;
Tube O Tasties- Just as something different send a package in a tube instead of a square box. Make sure the parameters are acceptable though.
Stress Reliever- back scratcher; bubble wrap; yo-yos; bubbles; squeezy tension ball;
Sloppy Kisses- since we know chocolate melts over there .send a bunch of Hersheys kisses. Bound to be sloppy kisses!
Im Nuts About You- peanuts; cashews; pistachios; peanut butter cookies; any candy or cookies with nuts in them; Nutter Butters; Peanut Lovers Chex mix; Fiddle Faddle with peanuts
Rock On or Charlie ROCK- pop rocks; music cds
Chili Today, Hot Tamale- hot tamales (candy); small cans of chili; red pepper flakes (like the ones at pizza parlors); salsa sunflower seeds; Cajun flavor Pringles; Spicy chex mix; Boston red hots; peppered beef jerky; taco bell hot sauce packets; Extreme Doritos; chili powder; nacho cheese sauce in a can; Tums/Rolaids , Jalapeņo Ritz;
And this little piggy went to the sandbox- (foot care kit)- foot powder; Dr, Scholls boot inserts; foot lotion; foot file; fresh, clean socks; toe nail clippers; scrub brush; odor eater balls for shoes/boots; foot soaks (either include a small bucket or large Ziploc bags to soak feet it)
How do you eat your OREOS??!!- regular Oreos; peanut butter Oreos; double stuff Oreos; low fat Oreos; chocolate filled Oreos; chocolate covered Oreos; holiday Oreos
Muchas Gracias Nachos Supreme- Doritos &/or Fritos &/or any corn tortilla chips; Mexican Velveeta; salsa (wrapped in bubble wrap); small can of olives (dont forget the can opener); bean dip; nacho cheese dip; small can of green chilies; jar of jalapenos (wrapped in bubble wrap); taco seasoning; small paper plates or bowls (so they can make their nachos); taco sauce (especially easy are those condiment packets from Taco Bell); You could also send the sauces from the various Mexican dinner kits (they also have tortillas in those dinner kits that are sealed so they would probably get there without molding or drying out); Taco Bell Nacho Supreme kit
Sweet Tooth- Nerds; Gummy Bears; Laffy Taffy; Bubble Gum; Tootsie Rolls; Lolli pops; (any candy that wont melt)
Pamper Party (for females)- Feminine hygiene products; shampoo/conditioner; hair barrettes and scrunchies (same color as their hair); facial scrub &/or soap; facial mask; lotion; shower gel; razors; facial moisturizer; tweezers; nail care kit; toner; special facial products (alpha hydroxy; eye cream; etc);
Congrats on your promotion- congratulation party favors; all your loved ones favorites snacks; sparkled cider (wrapped in bubble wrap of course); etc.
For the Fisherman- Goldfish crackers; tuna pouches; canned smoked salmon; cans of sardines; gummy worms; Go Fish card game; Field & Stream magazine; electronic fishing rod game; Sponge Bob Square Pants stuffed toy; fishing game toy (made by several different toy companies. Has a small fishing pole with a magnet on the end. Fish have magnets on their mouths);
Say CHEEEESE!- disposable cameras; cheese dip; Doritos; Cheetos; Cheese nips; Better Cheddars; Velveeta;
Kick Back & Relax- Dominoes; playing cards; magazines; books; music cds; crossword puzzles; jigsaw puzzles; word searches; hand held electronic games; squirt guns; water balloons; bubbles; hacky sacks; Nerf balls; board games (Axis & Allies, Clue, Trivial Pursuit, etc);
Christmas in July- wrap everything in Christmas wrapping paper; peppermint flavored hard candies;
Italian Stallion- Italian cheese Ghardettos; Pizza-licious Pringles; Pepperoni pizza Combos; small Boboli pizza bread; pizza sauce (for dipping Boboli); canned Ravioli, spaghetti, lasagna, etc;
American Classics- Pez with dispensers; Cracker Jacks; Lifesavers; Necco Wafers; Pop Rocks; Nerds; Good & Plenty; Candy Necklaces; Candy cigarettes
Deployed on Thanksgiving- canned turkey; instant mashed potato cups; hard breadsticks; gravy in a jar (wrapped in bubble wrap); Hostess apple pies; small can of corn (or other veggie); something special to cheer them up on Thanksgiving (pictures from home; magazines; tape recorded tape; small scrapbook; etc)
This tip is also from Stephanie One thing I found helpful was taking a bunch of the claims forms home and filling them out before I went to the post office.
Some tips from me (seamour) I find lots of good deals in the weekly Walgreens ad, the little coupons they have you can get bargains on lots of stuff to send over. Some things I have sent in the past include candy (no chocolate once it starts getting hot over there again and I think it's already in the 80's I read), gum, canned goods, things like those tuna lunch kits, any type of lunch kit that comes in it's own bowl as they don't always have bowls available, paper plates, plastic silverware, writing paper and envelopes, pens, pencils, READING material is a big one, save articles from local papers he will enjoy, sports sections, magazines, books, a bible if he didn't bring one, a calender if he didn't bring one with him, some guys like having a rug in their tents, pictures, letters from other friends if you can get them to write. A good way to send reading material is to get the Priority Mail flat rate envelopes from your post office or order them online. It's $3.60 I think to send them and you can stuff several magazines, newspaper articles, letters etc in there, so he would be getting some smaller packages more often.
Operation Military Pride Care Package Info they have lists here of what to send and lots of tips too.
And I fully admit to pilfering this off the Military Wives Website
CARE PACKAGES FOOD ITEMS: Instant Coffee, Powdered Gatorade, Powdered hot Chocolate, Kool-Aid (presweetened of course), Tea bags, Slim Jim's, Crackers and cheese, Single servings of bagged chips, Candy, Bubble gum, Little Debbie snack cakes, bubble gum, rice krispie treats, dry cerial, Kraft Easy Mac, Microwave pocorn (if they have a microwave), Beef Jerky, Granola bars, Power bars, Dried fruit, Chex mix, Canned soup, Tuna, Spices, Summer sausage, Oatmeal, Salsa, Lolli pops, Marshmellows, Gum, Canned Chicken, Salad Dressing (plastic bottles), Instant Soup, Fast food condiments (ketchup, hot sauce, mustard, salt peper, relish,mayo).
KIDS: Have the kids draw a pcture or write a story every day. Put them all in a big envelope and send them with the care packages. Take videos of the kid playing at the park, any school activities or just sitting down and saying a personal message. Get some computer printer magnetic paper. Let the kidsusepaint markers to draw a picture on it so the parent can easily hang it on the metal rack that they sleep in. Let the kids to their very own care package. Let them put in whatever they want. Use a casting kit to create a miniature plaster "sculpture" of a new baby's foot or hand for a new daddy. PRACTICAL: TOILET PAPER!!!, Laundry soap, clorox wipes, baby wipes, razors, chaving cream, shampoo, conditioner, after shave lotion, soap or body wash, mouth wash? (most do have alcohol which is prohibited place in at your own discretion), deodorant, t-shirts, underwear and socks, a big fluffy towel, eye drops, especially for those in the desert, chapstick, lp balm, sun block, skin so soft (Avon), lotion, dental floss, baby powder, foot powder, combs/brushes, cotton balls, liquid hand sanitizer, breath mints, contact lens cleaner, nail files
JUST FOR FUN: Send batteries-it sounds simple but people forget!, stressball, paper and envelopes with a nice writng pen might inspire a few more lettrs home (postage is Free for soldiers sending mail FROM Kuwait), paperback book or magazines, disposable cameras, puzzles, film, journals, squirt guns, yo yo's, frisbees, dart boards, small flash lights, hackie sacks, jump ropes, electronic hand held games, post cardsfrom your home state, handmade items, radio head sets, portable CD players, mini fans, jokes and comics, baloons, hats (baseball), bandanas, socks, blankets, bug off, birthday decorations, banners, With a CD burner-make a CD of favorite songs, Make a miniature scrapbook, the miniature size foam footballs and basketballs will come in GREAT use!
FOR FEMALES: Feminine hygiene products (Tampons, panty liners), hair bands, hair clips, nail polish, nail clippers, Q-tips, small mirrors, body sprays, hair spray (pump), hair gel, perfume.
American Legion Support our Troops Several programs the legion has going on, check them out. They also have yard signs and other merchandise available. There's one link for the story behind the blue star flag. This page has several ideas for ways to show support.
VFW Operation Uplink free phone cards for deployed or hospitalized military.
Email our Military Email our military (eMom) is a free service providing a safe way for people to continue the tradition of "any Service Member" mail with a much more personal touch - email.
Memories In Uniform scrapbooking supplies
Patriotic Lapel Pins
Support our Troops Signs
Mom's Break There's some free printables available on this site, many of them geared to be used in care packages.
Services Flags Lots of products here including the blue star flags.
Pillowmail.com I am including this one for those of you in a romantic relationship that want to let your loved one know you are thinking of them, I would NOT advise sending it to their military email. If they do not have a hotmail or something set up they can use, send it to yourself, print it out and drop it in the mail. Make sure they don't start reading it with their "buddies" around (grin).