Author Topic: The Care Package Project -- an Update  (Read 30009 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Venus193

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 15937
  • Backstage passes are wonderful things!
The Care Package Project -- an Update
« on: February 05, 2007, 10:12:05 PM »
I sent a 12 lb box of snacks to Iraq last week and got a thank-you e-mail from the addressee (a supply sergeant).  All for Entenmann's Little Bites, Quaker granola bars, bite-size Milky Ways, and Craisins.  With a couple of DVDs thrown in for good measure.

I just received a postcard from a marine corporal thanking me for the package I sent two weeks ago, saying that she will feel "home" while reading the magazines and books I sent.

The point of this post isn't to throw bouquets at myself or solicit them from you guys, but to explain that we take so much for granted in our (mostly) comfortable homes.  We don't have to know what it's like to not have a piping-hot, home-cooked meal or to not be able to run to the corner store for a package of cookies whenever we feel like it.  Being a native New Yorker who can buy almost anything anytime it is almost unimaginable to me that there are people in this world who volunteer to put themselves in this postion and risk their lives at the same time.

From now on I will look at everyday things a bit differently.

sbtier

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5294
Re: The Care Package Project -- an Update
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2007, 03:37:51 PM »
I have a large library and when I moved, I culled through my books and sent about 6 boxes to the troops through Books for Soldiers.  I had only 'women-themed' books left and found a unit in Baghdad asking for books for women (they said they were sick of reading Maxim magazine).  I sent a large box and got a thank you letter from the morale office.  I like to think of my library circulating around Iraq and Afghanistan.

Venus193

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 15937
  • Backstage passes are wonderful things!
Re: The Care Package Project -- an Update
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2007, 05:19:24 PM »
I have a ton of romance novels, some of which are going to female soldiers whose names I am getting from Anysoldier.com.  That seems to be the most active site for this.  Of course, when I read about what they need that isn't being adequately supplied I was aghast.

Thank the gods for dollar stores.

I will shortly be sending a special movie package to a Navy ship, since my dad was a Navy man during WWII.  I'm wondering how long that will take.

For the benefit of anyone who wants to do this, I was told the other day by a man who had recently served in Iraq that care packages typically take 3-5 weeks to get to their destinations.  The exceptions would be the first stop on the cargo plane's run.

Xanthia, Maker of fine Tin-foil hats since 2007

  • Xanthia the Great
  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1104
Re: The Care Package Project -- an Update
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2007, 12:39:18 PM »
Jellybean and I had decided to put aside $100.00 for soldier boxes, unfortunatley, the tornadoes hit and we are using that money for Tornado relief, we will be able to di it in a month or so, we are looking forward to shopping for our boxes!!!

The strangest food request I saw was "Fun Dip", I will make sure to send over a bunch, LOL!

Venus193

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 15937
  • Backstage passes are wonderful things!
Re: The Care Package Project -- an Update
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2007, 12:57:59 PM »
Xanthia, the more I read the posts on that site the more I realize that we are comparatively spoiled.  I think of that every time I'm in a dollar store or drug store. 

Some service people have microwaves while others don't have the ability to heat or cook any food, so they eat stuff directly from the packaging.  I occasionally see posts from people looking for Ramen noodle packs, which is probably the extent of their ability to cook under these conditions.  I can imagine how good their families' food must taste to them when they go home on leave.

Microwave containers are an item on some people's lists.  My favorite Chinese take-out place has great ones and I wash them diligently after use.  I haven't sent any yet, but probably will when I've cumed a dozen or so.  Along with plastic cutlery.

Remember to ziplock everything and don't send toiletries and food together in the same box.  No chocolate after next month (it will melt).

Lil Debbie snacks are popular, cheap, and easy to pack.

Based on my reading of that site, I think that those located in Iraq and Afghanistan are the ones most in need.

I am now wondering how long packages take to get to Navy ships.  I hope somebody here knows.   :-\

DottyG

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 18204
Re: The Care Package Project -- an Update
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2007, 01:09:17 PM »
I used to do packages for soldiers a few years ago.  Then, for some reason, I got away from it.

I'm so excited to be able to do it again!  I've already found two cardboard boxes that I can fill.  I have a soldier's name and address (from the site).  And, I'm thinking of all the many things I want to send!

I've really, really missed doing this.  I'd forgotten just how much I love sending things to our military.  I wish I had kept it up before. I got some of the sweetest letters from them in return - letters that just made your heart break at how grateful they are to hear from those of us back home.  How just the simple act of remembering them means the world to them.  They're not looking for "stuff".  They're looking for someone to be thinking of them and praying for them.  To get a simple letter from us means more than all the stuff we could send.

It's sometimes hard to read sites like anysoldier.com, because I tear up so much at how lonely they sound and how much they just want human contact from those of us here.

Thanks Venus, for reminding me of how much I love doing this.  I'm so thrilled that I'm getting to help someone again. :)


Venus193

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 15937
  • Backstage passes are wonderful things!
Re: The Care Package Project -- an Update
« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2007, 01:25:45 PM »
I know.  Just reading the marine's postcard made me realize what a sacrifice it is for them to do this and how they deserve our support (no matter how we feel about the war).

I also wonder how many of them don't have families to write to them or send them stuff.  A woman on another forum told me she sends extra stuff to her husband because he bunks with someone who has nobody to send things to him.

My next door neighbor is getting involved and some of the people in my office appear interested.  I hope others are inspired to do it, too.  All it takes is to give up one restaurant or take-out meal per week.  Or buy one less book or DVD for yourself each month.  Whatever makes this work for you.  I feel good knowing that I've made a few people's tours of duty a little more bearable.

aline

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2236
  • formerly farfalla
Re: The Care Package Project -- an Update
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2007, 10:03:32 AM »
Thanks for this venus. Hubby and I have been looking for a good way to give some encouragement to the men and women overseas, and anysoldier.com looks to be just right for us. Call me stingy, but I've always felt a little put off with the websites that only allow you to purchase their care package to send out (something about someone making money off of this just doesn't seem right).

Now I think it's time to go shopping!   :)

Belle

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 669
Re: The Care Package Project -- an Update
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2007, 06:28:16 PM »
If you're sending care packages might I recommend a, um, personal item to include? Cream and powder for athlete's foot and jock itch. My fiance is in Baghdad right now, and he begged me to send him some ASAP. Apparently he was having a difficult time finding any there. (You would think they would stay stocked up on that sort of item!) Anyway, given the heat (which isn't actually bad right now), the sweat, and mainly the constant layer of grime, it's pretty difficult to avoid those problems.

Between me and his mom, my fiance gets whatever he needs. But he has mentioned that he feels bad for some of the guys who have no family to write to them and send them things, so I'm sure they really appreciate receiving care packages.

The mail system can be kind of weird. I've mailed a package to him (in Baghdad) and to a friend in New York at the same time (I'm in the U.S.), and his package arrived first (in 5 days!!!). Other times I've sent stuff and it never gets there, and 2 or 3 times the military has sent stuff back labeled "addressee unknown." I repackage it, slap on the same mailing label, send it out again, and it goes through the second time. There's no rhyme or reason to it!

ItZWhoUKnow

  • I can't re-
  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 615
Re: The Care Package Project -- an Update
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2007, 06:56:42 PM »
I have a suggestion.

Buy inexpensive tupperware like products or tins to put things like crackers or cookies in. They get squished just packed in the cardboard box.

  I learned this when the hubby was in Iraq in 2003. Of course he still ate the Fudge Stripe crumbs.

He's going back again in the near future and I already have him giving me ideas of what he wants.
But it's never too late to correct the faults so many others made ~Midtown

Venus193

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 15937
  • Backstage passes are wonderful things!
Re: The Care Package Project -- an Update
« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2007, 10:12:31 PM »
Farfalla, I wish someone would start a service that would enable someone to purchase electronic items for servicepeople.  Not that I'm about to buy someone a laptop or a DVD player, but it would be a good thing to have it sent by someone who knows how to pack it so it arrives intact.

I checked the care packages available at Anysoldier.com and they look a little inflated in price.  Not to mention lacking the personal touch both for the sender and the recipient.

I love shopping and finding bargains, so sending anything short of the aforementioned electronic stuff through a third party just doesn't feel right to me.

Venus193

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 15937
  • Backstage passes are wonderful things!
Re: The Care Package Project -- an Update
« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2007, 10:21:37 PM »
Most of the females don't get enough feminine hygiene products, especially if they're in Iraq or Afghanistan.  I just sent two boxes of stuff to a group of female sailors and since it was only 8 I sent enough for all of them.  The dollar stores in my area carry the "weekend" size packages of Always maxipads (8 per package).  Those are more cost-effective than buying the normal package of 18, which usually costs between 3 and 4 dollars.  Not to mention they make good padding in the box.

Hint:  If you're sending empty items like soap cases, put things inside them.  In that package I put the bath poufs in the soap cases and the lip balm tubes inside the toothbrush cases.  That takes a little more time, but it's worth it and you get better at it with practice.

Venus193

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 15937
  • Backstage passes are wonderful things!
Re: The Care Package Project -- an Update
« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2007, 10:40:24 PM »
The tupperware idea is excellent.  I will do that the next time I send snacks.

Bag everything else in good ziplocks.  I tape bottlecaps down and then bag the bottles (of lotion, shower gel, etc) for extra peace of mind.

Unless you're sending stuff to a spouse or relative, don't forget to assign a dollar value to the package when you fill out the customs form and to collect your copy at the post office.  This is tax-deductible.   Save the postage receipts, too.

When you're shopping, don't hesitate to tell store clerks where the stuff is going.  Someone gave me 25% off on 25 tubes of lip balm and also gave me 20 single-dose packets of Excedrin and other similar stuff.

Ehelldame

  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 2792
  • I'm evil personified to the terminally crass.
    • Etiquette Hell
Re: The Care Package Project -- an Update
« Reply #13 on: February 10, 2007, 11:45:15 PM »
I've done a lot of care boxes for soldiers via anysoldier.com or for men from our church serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Here's what I've learned:

I almost exclusively used the USPS's Priority Mail flat rate boxes...the shoebox size.  For heavy books, magazines and canned food like ravioli, this is a cost effective way to send them.  I've sent dozens of boxes by USPS Priority Mail and not lost one.

Be discreet about the contents of the box on the Customs Declaration Form.  I usually wrote "Snack food and old magazines" and never declare any electronic equipment. 

Bigger boxes seem to be targets for theft. One large, "Christmas Party in a box" I sent had the disposable camera and StarBucks coffee pilfered from it before it reached its destination.

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.   



Ehelldame

  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 2792
  • I'm evil personified to the terminally crass.
    • Etiquette Hell
Re: The Care Package Project -- an Update
« Reply #14 on: February 10, 2007, 11:49:27 PM »
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.