Care Package Suggestions for Soldiers

Written by karen nehama
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Care Package Suggestions for Soldiers
Think of a soldier's needs when putting together a care package. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

What if you were miles from home and couldn't jump in the car and drive to a store to pick up a few things? A scenario like this is what many soldiers face while stationed in faraway places. While soldiers presumably have the basics to get by on, care package suggestions for soldiers include items that would surprise you because of their elementary nature. Adding some fun to a care package, by the way, never hurts either.

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USO Care Packages

For a £16 donation, the USO sends an "Operation USO Care Package" to a soldier deployed overseas, or who has been away from home for a long time. Care package items are purchased or donated directly from manufacturers; therefore, you do not have any personal say in what goes into a USO Care Package. These packages are designated for either males or females, so there are personal items included that are gender-specific.

Operation Shoebox

Operation Shoebox is another organisation that encourages sending care packages to troops. This group accepts cash donations and donated items from companies. You can adopt a soldier through Operation Shoebox, find a soldier through a veterans group or donate a care package to a soldier that is from your area.

Snacks and Other Foods

According to Operation Shoebox, soldiers look forward to receiving the following snacks and other foods: candy, instant beverages, sugar packets, energy bars, beef jerky, canned fruit in pop-top cans, small boxes of cereals, cookies, granola bars, gum, instant oatmeal, toaster pastries, any flavour instant noodle soup, ravioli in pop-top cans and tuna kits. Soldiers can also use ready-brew coffee packs.

Care Package Suggestions for Soldiers
Red liquorice is a troop favourite. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Toiletries

Troops also need dental supplies such as toothpaste, toothbrushes, mouthwash and floss. Books, magazines and newspapers are appreciated, too, in addition to correspondence supplies and hygiene items such as eye drops, nose spray, baby wipes, deodorant, feminine hygiene products, hairbrushes, hand lotion, foot powder, waterless hand sanitiser, disposable razors, nail clippers, cotton swabs, shampoo, heavy-duty tissues, acetaminophen and travel-size body wash.

Miscellaneous Items

Soldiers have also been known to ask for plastic spoons, small American flags, zippered plastic baggies, batteries, bug spray (must be packaged in zippered plastic bags), duct tape, small flashlight with extra light bulbs, personal-size battery-powered fan, disposable camera, insect repellent, prepaid phone card, shoe cushion insert, calf-high white socks, fly strips and fly swatters.

For a unique twist on fly swatters, a soldier may enjoy a battery-operated fly swatter. Resembling a tennis racket, such devices "zap" flies, mosquitoes and gnats, creating a sizzling sound as the voracious insects becoming crispy; include a few sets of batteries as well. Purchase these at sporting goods stores in the camping department.

Care Package Suggestions for Soldiers
Flies get what they deserve (Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images)

Holiday Wishes

Troops look forward to receiving tasty foods to celebrate the holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukkah. Canned cranberry sauce and sweet potatoes are easy to include in a Thanksgiving care package. Also consider ingredients for your best stuffing recipe with the recipe included. Christmas stockings and small unbreakable decorations could also be useful. Don't forget Valentine's Day or Halloween by sending heart-shaped cookies or cookies in the shape of pumpkins.

Packing Tips

The U.S. Postal Service provides you with a free box specifically designated for Operation Shoebox; you can also use your own packaging. Pack toiletries and items that can leak in separate zippered plastic bags so that they do not contaminate any food items. Packing materials may include foam "popcorn" or inflatable plastic bags that are used as stabilisers.

Select a Soldier

Find a soldier in your area to send a care package to through a local church, the VFW or American Legion post. Also consider sending a package to a soldier you know. You can adopt a troop through Operation Shoebox and send packages to them on a monthly basis. Visit their website at operationshoebox.com. Click on "Supporter Info" and then click on "Adopt a Troop." If committing to a long-term care package situation with one particular soldier is not for you, Operation Shoebox gladly takes care package boxes that you put together and send to them. Any size box is accepted.

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