Care packages are a great way to send love and comfort from home to our military troops stationed overseas. Military personnel currently serve overseas in over 150 countries. Soldiers are most often away from their family and familiar things so sending a package with some comforts from “home” can really lift their spirits. Orion Associates has been sending care packages for almost three years to troops stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Each month a specific department at Orion is in charge of sending care packages full of homemade treats and personalized thank you notes. At the end of the year there is a final packing event where any management staff can participate to send cheer by packing holiday treats and sending holiday cards. We’ve found that assembling care packages is a way of showing gratitude to the men and women fighting for our country. It is also a team building event for our departments. Shopping, baking and packing allow a team to spend time together doing something fun and casual. Typically the packages are prepared in the Orion company kitchen and packaged on site.
The holidays are a wonderful time to send military care packages as soldiers may be missing their homes and loved ones even more this time of year. If you’re interested in assembling and sending your own care package to a soldier or soldiers, we’ve put together some helpful tips:
Who do I send the care package to? First, get names of specific soldiers safety and security reasons holiday cards and packages may not be addressed to “any soldier” or a troop, they must be addressed to a specific soldier by name. Ask around with family and friends to see if they know anyone personally. If not you can find a soldier through websites like www.anysoldier.com or www.soldiersangels.org
What should I send? JustMilitaryLoans.com says that it’s great to send the troops things like hand sanitizer, baby wipes, batteries, laundry detergent flashlights and international phone cards. Things we take advantage of daily that are necessities to them. Handheld games, DVD’s, powdered drinks (Gatorade) and beef jerky are other good ideas.
Of course the troops love to receive handmade goodies and they can be fun for us to prepare. Here are a few things to keep in mind when sending food items:
- Provide items with a “longer” shelf life as it can take several weeks for your package to arrive at its final destination. Cookies are a good option.
- Package things really well. Use airtight containers and seal the lids with packing tape.
- Label what you send with ingredients, especially nuts, in case of allergies.
- Seal up your box well with lots of tape and consider waterproofing it by lining it with a garbage bag.
- Double-address your package, put extra mailing label inside the box, as well as outside.
How do I send it? The most important part of sending a military care package is making sure that it arrives. Adopt A Platoon has a very helpful document on how to pack and send care packages to our troops to ensure that they get there. There can be some challenges with sending packages overseas as well as some restrictions on what can and cannot be sent.
At Orion Associates we have found that sending care packages is an easy way to show our soldiers how much we appreciate their service. We know it makes a difference and have received some wonderful notes back including the following note that was posted on our Facebook page:
Good Morning, My name is Sgt Chanmugam, and I’m currently serving in Afghanistan. I received a few packages about a month ago containing Girl Scout cookies and another 2 boxes about a week ago with rice crispy treats. I just wanted to say thank you for the packages. They were greatly appreciated by my Marines and I. Thank you for the packages and support, it means a lot to us. Semper Fi and thank you.