If you have friends or family serving overseas in the military, you must be very proud. You also must think about them often and worry about what it’s like for them over there. Serving in the military, overseas and in war, is unlike anything else, and it can only be understood by people who have actually experienced it. As supporters back home, it’s our job to stay in contact with our soldiers and help them in any way we can. One of the most important and best ways to do this is by sending care packages. Even if you don’t personally know a soldier, you can still make a care package and send it through charitable organizations like Operation Shoebox. Here are some suggestions on what to send and not to send to soldiers overseas.
Send Trial Size Personal Hygiene Items
Soldiers always appreciate personal hygiene items. Living overseas in hot conditions and without access to their favorite products back home is tough. They can use trial size lotions, shampoos, conditioners, body washes, face washes, deodorants, mouth washes, shaving cream, and any other small hygiene items. Trial sizes are easier for them to carry, and they don’t have too much space to store the full-size versions.
Send Extras Whenever Possible
Especially when sending personal hygiene items, don’t be afraid to send too much. Soldiers frequently run out of the things they need, and it could be a while until their next care package. More importantly, they will share with each other when they can. Your extra supplies will make not only your soldier happy, but others who might not be so lucky to receive care packages.
Send Individually Wrapped Items
Do send cookies, candy, snacks, shelf-stable foods, canned foods, and any other food that won’t melt or go bad on the way (they should be able to last for two weeks or more). However, make sure everything you send is individually wrapped and divided into single servings and portion sizes. If they keep open containers, they can easily spoil or get covered in dust. It’s also a good idea to double and triple wrap lots of items, especially if you made them yourself. Secure them in plastic baggies so they don’t get damaged, and the soldiers can always make use of the baggies, too. Send single servings of beverages, too, like sports drinks and coffee.
Send Fun Stuff
Soldiers often have a lot of downtime, and they need to keep themselves occupied and entertained. Being overseas in camps can get boring very quickly. Send things like DVDs, magazines, card and board games, CDs, dominoes, books, and word puzzle books. They’ll enjoy having something new to do.
Send Practical and Personal Stuff
Soldiers can also use practical items like pillows, blankets, shoelaces, pens and notepaper, baby wipes, sewing kits, heat pads, and batteries. They also want to receive personal items like their children’s artwork, letters, and photographs. Just don’t send any racy photographs or other extremely personal or adult items. You never know who will be around when your soldier opens the box.
Arnie Jefferson is a former military serviceman and freelance writer who loves to blog about everything from what to get soldiers to new robotics technology.
Photo Credit: damopabe