Author Topic: The Care Package Project -- an Update  (Read 29285 times)

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DottyG

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Re: The Care Package Project -- an Update
« Reply #15 on: February 11, 2007, 01:12:54 AM »
YIPPEEE!  I got to mail my boxes today!

EHellDame already mentioned something I was going to suggest - use the Flat Rate boxes the USPS provides.  I didn't have any, but I got some for my next mailing.

I had one box full of microwave food items - my troop has a microwave.  And, another box full of other stuff - batteries, hand sanitizer, vitamins, antibiotic cream, paper products, pens, hard candy, and letters to various "Any Soldier".

I always get so excited when I send these boxes out.  I keep wondering what it would be like to open the box and see what's inside.  I hope the things I picked are helpful to the people I sent it to.

Even though I looked for bargains and got several "2 for 1" deals on things I got, I still spent more than I'd realized!  I don't mind a bit!  I get so excited buying stuff and trying to think of what I'd want if I were over there.  You can spend a few dollars or hundreds of dollars.  You can even just send a letter - they want those desperately.  It's totally up to you as to how much you want to spend.

One thing you might consider, by the way, is to put another addressee on the Customs form - there's a place at the bottom of the form for what to do if the person you've sent it to is no longer there.  Put "Deliver to Chaplain" in that spot.  If your person is already gone by the time your package arrives, it'll at least get in the hands of someone who can still deliver the stuff to whoever is still there.  Chaplains are great about doing things like that.

I want to do it again!  I'm ready to pack up another box! :D


RoseRose

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Re: The Care Package Project -- an Update
« Reply #16 on: February 11, 2007, 02:54:41 AM »
Can you send just a couple things?  I'm a mostly broke college student, but I want to do SOMETHING, and before I get my birthday money (yay great-aunts) in May, I want to send SOMETHING... I just can't afford much, even at dollar-store prices.



Venus193

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Re: The Care Package Project -- an Update
« Reply #17 on: February 11, 2007, 07:06:54 AM »
Boxes taped with clear tape were more likely to be pilfered than ones I mummified in Priority Mail tape (which is free from the post office).   They cut them open from the bottom and then retape them so using Priority Mail tape makes pilfering a little more obvious.

Black female soldiers have the hardest time finding hair care products in the PX so if you find a group on anysoldier.com asking for these things, you can bet they will be very appreciative. 

Gold Bond Medicated Powder or a generic version is very appreciated.    Taping sports games from TV and sending on DVD is a big hit. 

Protein/power bars are cheaper in bulk from Sam's.

I'm going to ask my postal clerk to add priority tape from now on.  Since the same one's been waiting on me the last three weeks I'm sure he won't mind even giving me the roll.

I will keep the hair care thing in mind about the black female soldiers.  In fact, I actually started wondering about what any women do who need hair dye or bleach.

Any box with DVDs is marked "used DVDs" even when they're new.  However, it's making me a little nervous because I sent a large box to a female sailor in Kuwait three weeks ago.  There were 5 DVDs in it. 

I will be making a grand gesture next weekend that will require me to insure the box.  It's going to be the full 4-volume set of the James Bond movies going to a Navy ship.  I've read that insured packages are never pilfered or molested. 

Venus193

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Re: The Care Package Project -- an Update
« Reply #18 on: February 11, 2007, 07:14:33 AM »
I love it when anysoldier.com contacts ask for things for the people of the country the soldiers are stationed in.   This one looks like a winner:

Maj Patrick Monahan is asking for "Books for Afghans" to stock a local Afghani library.   

There are 53 people asking for school supplies for the local children.  One made a point to mention a school for girls in Afghanistan where the Taliban once tried to keep females illiterate, afraid, and out of sight. 

Don't forget the Beanie Babies!

Venus193

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Re: The Care Package Project -- an Update
« Reply #19 on: February 11, 2007, 07:29:56 AM »
I just can't afford much, even at dollar-store prices.

Can you get a couple of other students to contribute?  You can send a box to a small group with letters enclosed from all of you; that means everything to them.  Many if not most of them are around your age, most probably haven't been this far away from home before, and all of them are hungry for any voices from home.  How about posting a note on a public bulletin board (cyber and traditional)?

As for stuff, I'm finding toothbrushes at 2/$1, used DVDs at Blockbuster for as little as $5 each, and Ramen noodle packs can be as cheap as 5/$1.   In Chinatown (where I might go this afternoon) I can get Bee and Flower brand soaps at $3.50 for a box of a dozen (box weighs about 2 lbs).  They come in Rose, Jasmine, and Sandalwood (the latter of which is very traditionally for guys).  I sent two boxes of the floral ones to the previously-mentioned female sailors.

If you have thrift stores near you many of them will have relatively recent used magazines and paperbacks.  If you tell the employees you're sending them to service people they might cut you a fabulous deal or even give them to you free.

FoxPaws

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Re: The Care Package Project -- an Update
« Reply #20 on: February 11, 2007, 10:12:16 AM »
Any box with DVDs is marked "used DVDs" even when they're new.  However, it's making me a little nervous because I sent a large box to a female sailor in Kuwait three weeks ago.  There were 5 DVDs in it. 

I will be making a grand gesture next weekend that will require me to insure the box.  It's going to be the full 4-volume set of the James Bond movies going to a Navy ship.  I've read that insured packages are never pilfered or molested. 

Somewhere on the AnySoldier site it suggests writing AnySoldier.com on both the case and the DVD itself. It makes them difficult to re-sell (which is why they get stolen).
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Belle

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Re: The Care Package Project -- an Update
« Reply #21 on: February 11, 2007, 10:22:49 AM »
I wanted to second two things that E-Hell Dame mentioned.

1) USPS flat-rate boxes are a very economical way to go if you're sending heavy items. Put as much as you can in the boxes, since you're not paying per pound.

2) Be careful what you put on the customs slip. When I first started sending packages to my fiancee, I didn't realize that the USPS clearly marks the contents on the outside of the package. (I found this out AFTER I sent him a new, portable dvd player for Christmas, and I was so worried somebody along the way would see "portable dvd player" on the outside of the box and would decide it would make a nice Christmas present for them! Luckily, he got it. Now most of my customs slips indicate that I'm sending "used books, snack food, and cards." They don't need to know that I'm sending him new dvds to watch!)

Venus193

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Re: The Care Package Project -- an Update
« Reply #22 on: February 11, 2007, 10:33:34 AM »
Somewhere on the AnySoldier site it suggests writing AnySoldier.com on both the case and the DVD itself. It makes them difficult to re-sell (which is why they get stolen).

I know, but I hate defacing things, especially when the cover illustration is good.  I did put some Avery labels on the last batch, though.

I'm going out in a short while in search of some Ellery Queen Mystery Magazines and some other stuff.  And except for the special insured package next weekend I will henceforth send smaller boxes.  While they present a problem with my wheels, they will be cheaper to ship.

Venus193

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Re: The Care Package Project -- an Update
« Reply #23 on: February 11, 2007, 10:37:32 AM »
I always get so excited when I send these boxes out.  I keep wondering what it would be like to open the box and see what's inside.  I hope the things I picked are helpful to the people I sent it to.

Even though I looked for bargains and got several "2 for 1" deals on things I got, I still spent more than I'd realized!  I don't mind a bit!  I get so excited buying stuff and trying to think of what I'd want if I were over there.  You can spend a few dollars or hundreds of dollars.  You can even just send a letter - they want those desperately.  It's totally up to you as to how much you want to spend.

One thing you might consider, by the way, is to put another addressee on the Customs form - there's a place at the bottom of the form for what to do if the person you've sent it to is no longer there.  Put "Deliver to Chaplain" in that spot.  If your person is already gone by the time your package arrives, it'll at least get in the hands of someone who can still deliver the stuff to whoever is still there.  Chaplains are great about doing things like that.

I want to do it again!  I'm ready to pack up another box! :D

I know; this can almost be addictive.  I always imagine the looks on their faces when they see that a package contains a new movie or a snack they haven't had since leaving the States.

I will keep in mind about the chaplain.  That seems a logical idea.

Venus193

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Re: The Care Package Project -- an Update
« Reply #24 on: February 11, 2007, 10:47:51 AM »
Now most of my customs slips indicate that I'm sending "used books, snack food, and cards." They don't need to know that I'm sending him new dvds to watch!)

The only problem is that an omission can come back to bite you on the tush if the customs officials choose that package to inspect.

One more suggestion:  Don't put so many different things in a box as to require more than one customs form.  It's a pain in the neck for those of us who are no longer accustomed to printing on a 6-part carbon form.

aline

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Re: The Care Package Project -- an Update
« Reply #25 on: February 12, 2007, 09:22:39 AM »
I always get so excited when I send these boxes out.  I keep wondering what it would be like to open the box and see what's inside.  I hope the things I picked are helpful to the people I sent it to.

Me too! My husband and I had a great time shopping over the weekend. After reading a lot of the entries on AnySoldier, we decided we wanted to do two boxes - we chose a troop of (just) men for one, and two women within another troop for the second. My hubby was a great resource for the men's box (he served in the Army out of high school, so he had a good idea of what some of them might be missing), and I had a lot of fun picking out things for the women that I thought I might miss.

I will be taking the packages off to USPS today, and hope that the boxes give them a nice little touch of home.

Venus - I think the idea for a care package center to send electronics is an excellent idea. I wonder if any of the big companies might have anything like this in place, maybe with a discount for anything going overseas?

and Rose - I think anything you can send is completely acceptable -- maybe you could round up a few other students to help put together something handmade? Like a group of letters with a picture of the group of you, wishing them well, or something along those lines.

I think I'll have to check in to the "Books for Afghans" project Ehelldame mentioned as well - being a bit (okay more than a bit) of a bibliophile, that one really appeals to me.

Venus193

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Re: The Care Package Project -- an Update
« Reply #26 on: February 12, 2007, 12:40:51 PM »
Tomorrow I'm going to a client meeting and I should have an opportunity to shop in their company store where stuff is 1/3rd the retail price.  I am going to max out my purchase allowance on soap, body lotion, iced tea mix, instant soup, and anything else useful for this purpose.

I've sent out 18 boxes so far to 9 different people.  I will probably permanently adopt the female Marine from New Jersey and two others for ongoing support.  Other than that the next burst will be in summer, for which I will be stocking up on Zest Mint soap and anything else "cooling."

I was in a magazine store yesterday picking up issues of Ellery Queen's and Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazines and the science fiction equivalents.  They cost about $4 each, but provide hours of good reading.

Xanthia, Maker of fine Tin-foil hats since 2007

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Re: The Care Package Project -- an Update
« Reply #27 on: February 12, 2007, 01:33:39 PM »
I am stoping by the post office tongiht to get me some boxes!!!

Just a note, some dollar stores carry books and old TV shows on DVD, they may not be the best, but I have enjoyed a few of them, and after not having too much, they may be a delightful diverson.

I am going to get my boxes and then pick a soldier, then going shopping!

So, I need the Flat rate boxes!

Venus193

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Re: The Care Package Project -- an Update
« Reply #28 on: February 12, 2007, 01:51:21 PM »
I've always had problems with those dollar-DVDs.  They play in my computer but not my DVD player.

The flat-rate boxes sound like a good option for sending school supplies to Afghanistan if the dimensions are correct.  Do you know if they are?  My dollar stores have plenty of notebooks at 99-cents or less, but a stack of those gets heavy awfully fast.

fklwmn

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Re: The Care Package Project -- an Update
« Reply #29 on: February 12, 2007, 01:59:13 PM »
for anyone who doesn't know... the Post office will deliver the priority mail supplies (boxes, shipping labels, stickers...) to your door free of charge. you just need to order them at usps.com.