Sunday, July 1, 2012

Military Monday - Things to Send in Care Packages

         I recently received a question from a new military spouse that asked about care packages and the types of things that she should/could send her husband.  There are a few rules on the limitations for contents of care packages but the rules are not too constricting.  There is no aerosol cans, no pornography, nothing that can/will melt, etc., that is allowed.  Many of the rules are created for shipping purposes rather than just rules from the Army. 

         While we were still under the impression that my husband was deploying I compiled a "wish list" of things that he likes and brand names that he prefers.  I e-mailed this list to his immediate family members (and mine) and told them to send away.  I highly recommend taking a similar route if your SO is deploying.  If you do not send out a mass e-mail you will be continuously badgered with questions on what to send and your husband/wife may end up with some useless items or brand names that he/she does not like.

           The wishlist I posted is compiled of a couple of different "categories":
  • Food, Snack, & Drink
    • There is a DFAC open on post but there's nothing like having a stash of beef jerky under your bed for a midnight snack
    • Don't forget to send homemade treats to really remind your SO of home.  I like Cake-in-a-Jar concepts, personally.
    • Remember that baked goods will only be accepted if the package is addressed to a specific soldier.  If it is part of a group package that will be distributed to random soldiers, baked goods are not allowed.
  • Toiletries
    • These are all the essentials and practical items that are good to send.  If your SO is at a larger base then they may be able to purchase most items at the PX themselves.  But supplies are limited to special brands and favorite products may not be carried in stock.
  • Entertainment
    • Soldiers get bored.  Most of the time, if a soldier is not working on a specific mission, they spend their time lounging around. To top it off, internet may be sparse or nonexistent so browsing the web during down time may not be an option.  Send things that will keep them busy.
  • Other
    • There are miscellaneous objects that may come in handy for a soldier downrange including fleece blankets during winter time, alarm clocks, or a flashlight and batteries.
    • Don't forget to make the packages personal.  Add letters, photographs, and mementos from home.
    • Seasonal items.  During seasons like Christmas, soldiers can get a little downtrodden.  Send items to lift their spirits and get them in the mood for the holidays.

Remember, space is limited.  If there are many people sending care packages try to arrange a rotation or assign categories to people so your spouse doesn't end up hoarding 5 bottles of body wash. 

Also, a bonus for all of you who are stationed OCONUS.  If you currently have an APO box, any shipments you make to your spouse's APO box downrange will be free.  APO to APO is considered Military Mail as long as flat rate USPS boxes are not used.

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