I should note here that the care packages are going to specific units that have expressed a need. The contents of the packages will be distributed among unit members. Unit representatives make their needs known on a Web site called AnySoldier.com. They also share status reports and photos of their units. You can learn more about this in an article I wrote on my blog, “Support Our Troops,” or by simply visiting the AnySoldier.com Web site.
If you’re looking for a way to do your part to support our troops — without making any kind of political statememt at all — this sure is a good way. And in all honesty, it doesn’t take much. Although I’m going full-out by shopping for these folks and sending out boxes of stuff, you don’t need to go that far. You can just send them a letter or a card, or a few magazines or packs of candy.
Here are some other ideas, based on reading dozens of online notes from actual service men and women:
- Are you a student or teacher? Get your class to draw pictures or write letters or cards to the men and women in a unit. Many of these people have young children at home that they miss. They enjoy hearing from youngsters and may even write back. What a great school project this could be!
- Are you a business owner able to buy snack foods, personal hygiene products, and CDs/DVDs at wholesale prices? These are the most requested items. A case of microwave popcorn or baby wipes (believe it or not!) could go a long way to help moral in certain units.
- Does your school or church group do bake sales? If so, why not bake a bunch of goodies for the troops? Obviously, you’d want to stick to items that would travel well — cookies and cookie bars are good.
- Got some books, magazines, holiday decorations, games, or other items you’re saving for a garage sale? Why not skip the hassle of having that sale and send these items to men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan?
These are just a few ideas. Reading the letters from AnySoldier.com participants will give you many more.
Right now, I’m collecting coffee mugs for a specific unit. They’re in Iraq and the unit representative has been deployed there, on and off, since 2003. Here’s what the Chief says:
With the hours I work, I enjoy coffee – AND – if people want to send coffee cups with logos of their local sports teams, colleges or companies, I’ll gladly send pics of us enjoying Army coffee from them!
This is a good opportunity for the folks in Wickenburg to show off their businesses. If anyone has a mug they’d like to send, e-mail me to let me know or to get the address directly from me. (AnySoldier.com does not permit me to put addresses online.) I’m hoping to send the care package to this unit sometime next week, so don’t delay. I’ll share any photos I get with folks who sent the mugs, as well as here on this site.
If you’d like to send items but can’t afford the cost of postage — which is to a U.S. zip code, so it really isn’t so bad — I may be able to send it for you in one of my packages. It depends on size and weight. I generally send smallish boxes using Priority Mail. Weight doesn’t matter if the item is small. But I may send large boxes of very light items to some units. E-mail me if you’d like me to ship your items.
I’d certainly be thrilled to pick up the cost of shipping for any school group that put together a care package or cards, drawings, and letters.
And this is a call to Wickenburg residents who have sons, daughters, nieces, nephews, husbands, or wives deployed in the Gulf: get care packages sent to them and their units! Use the Comments link or form below to share the unit’s mailing address. Be sure to tell us where they are, how long they’ve been there, and what you think they need most.
The holiday season — a time of giving — is fast approaching. Why not show our men and women overseas that we’re thinking about them?