I could’ve guessed there would be a lot of options to choose from. This weekend I researched how to send care packages to the military, and now I’m trying to decide how I want to do this. The easiest way is to send a few gift cards from Visa or MasterCard. According to SupportOurTroops.org, the gift cards are often used by soldiers to get on the satellite that connects them with home. Who wouldn’t want that?
Another option is, of course, to mail a personal care package. I could do this in a number of ways. I could send it to an organization like Support Our Troops and they will send it on to an appropriate military base. Support Our Troops advocates sending boxes with all the same type of goods in them because the items are sent and distributed to troops with the greatest need. You may be able to specify which country you want to support. If you’re interested, check their website.
But, I thought, what if I want to know who I’m helping –which branch of the military, which country, man or woman? So I dug a little deeper and found
AnySoldier.com. This is not a pretty site and I struggled with its small writing, but they had all the information I needed. I could pick who to send a care package to, where to send it, how to send it, and what to send. I could even select the branch of the military I wanted to support. Bingo!
What I particularly liked about this site was that you got a name of a soldier to send the package to. The soldier was a representative of a unit. The unit could be a group of men, a group of women, or a mix. The representative lists the items the unit could most use. The list changes all the time, so it’s important to recheck the list before preparing a package.
I decided to honor Mitch Olson—my daughter Lexa’s boyfriend, whose graduation from military basic training we attended last summer—by selecting a unit in the Airforce. He’s the only current military man we have in the “family”, so I’m going with it.
The unit I researched is stationed in Afghanistan. The representative, SSgt Thomas P. Crenshaw, has listed flushable wet wipes (I get that), snacks, pens, feminine products and ethnic female products as current needs. That’s certainly doable. I could pick one of those items and stuff a box with them or I could mix it up. My package isn’t going to take care of all their needs; the unit is comprised of 50 males and 10 females. But, others are sending packages to this unit, so we have a chance of making a dent in the list.
I also like that I can include a self-addressed-stamped envelope, with paper and a pen, and they just might send a note telling me they received it. I like the opportunity for connection.
One more thing…I came across a great piece of information. Before shipping anything, I need shipping materials, right? You may already know this, but I certainly didn’t.
The United States Postal (USPS) offers a free “Military Care Kit” with everything that’s needed to send overseas packages: boxes, tape, and the correct forms. To get this kit, all I have to do is call USPS (1-800-610-8734) and ask for it. Click here for more details. If you have questions about what you can and can’t ship overseas, visit the USPS website.
So now what? I could go the easy route (send gift card) or the personal route. I’m thinking it over. I’m busy with so many things these days, but I’ve heard our soldiers are even busier with more important things. I’m thinking I like the personal route. I’ll have to find out what it all costs first, though. The cost of shipping can be expensive. If I do this only a few times a year, it might be worth it. I think I’ll have a glass of wine and think about it. What do you think?