Sending official care packages to deployed soldiers is the best way to show you care about the sacrifice they are making. To make a package official, you must send it through an official organisation such as the USO or a non-profit that specialises in care packages. A care package can be filled with anything from non-perishable food items to personal hygiene items to fun novelty items that remind soldiers of home. This gives them physical and emotional comfort, boosts their morale and keeps them optimistic for their return home.
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Via the USO
The USO runs a program called Operation USO Care Package. This is the fastest and easiest way to send an official care package to deployed soldiers. You do not need to buy anything for the packages -- a donation of £16 to the USO is all you need to give, and a package is automatically sent to a deployed soldier. The retail value of each care package is approximately £48. USO care package items are purchased directly from or donated by manufacturers.
There are many non profits that provide lists and the process for sending care packages to anonymous soldiers. A few of those groups are Operation Gratitude, Any Soldier Inc., Army Wife Network, and Give-to-the-Troops.
According to AnySoldier Inc., letters are soldiers' most requested item. Just knowing that people are thinking about them and knowing that someone took the time to write to them to thank them for their service is gift enough. Most soldiers cannot pack what they are sent when it is time to move on in a mission, but letters can be placed in pockets and weigh virtually nothing.
If you want to send something tangible, send functional items such as personal hygiene items. Pack baby wipes, antiperspirant, socks, white T-shirts, underwear, foot powder, foot deodoriser, mouthwash and other personal hygiene items. Many soldiers are deployed to places that have no running water, which means no showers and no laundry.
Beanie Babies and Candy
Yes, Beanie Babies are helpful to send because the troops give them to children in the countries where they are deployed. Operation Gratitude operates the Beanie Babies Project not just to give the kids toys but to get information as well. The soldiers give the plush animals to them, and the kids cooperate and tell the soldiers where IED's are.
Tokens of home and snacks
Send pictures, postcards, key chains and other small tokens to remind soldiers of home. Small items that can fit in a jacket pocket are best, especially for those living in tents with limited space.
Send lots of snacks. During deployment many soldiers have to eat MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) and miss the food from home. Snacks you might send include: granola bars, pretzels, crisps, power bars, small cereal boxes, energy bars from health food stores, fruit snacks and other small, non-perishable items that can be toted around easily.
What Not to Send
Do not send anything that is too valuable because packages can get lost or damaged. Also, check with the post office to find out what you are legally allowed to send. For example, some countries do not accept pork products. Check with U.S. Customs and the FDA first before sending food items about which you have any concerns.
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