Since Jan 11, 2011

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Suggest sending monthly a Large or Medium Flat Rate USPS Box (’shoe box’ style, not the flat ones) of ‘comfort’ items to the troops in Iraq or Afghanistan. Perhaps you can get a military address from a friend or relative.
You MUST have a name and address.

On the Custom’s Form, under Number 10: If non-deliverable: (check the 3rd choice: Redirect to Address Below: Put: ‘Same Address - Any Chaplain to distribute.' Chaplains have much knowledge of their troops.’).

If you care not to send items, send a dozen notes (whatever fits, just make sure it seals well) in a Flat Rate ENVELOPE. They can all say the same thing - they’ll be going to different soldiers.

Or find an organization that is already mailing boxes, to donate either your money, or items.

Had a recent occasion to speak briefly to a sailor (seabee) who served in Iraq. Asked what he liked from home, he said: Snacks!!! Cookies (buy ones that are boxed well - not wimpy cellophane wrapping) Hard Candy (refreshing in the mouth - - (unfortunately, not chocolate - it melts - except if you send a bit, baggied, at the height of their colder weather, but you didn’t hear it here <:^} ~ ~ ~

Foot Powder
Drink Mixes, individual packs, like Crystal Light & others, to make the water taste better.

Let me add:
Beef Jerky - absolutely NO PORK! ! ! (Religious sensitivities)
Snack Bars
AA and AAA Batteries (baggie these well.)
Travel size hygiene items, like shampoo (baggie these well)
They may put these items in their cargo pockets, for times on overnight(S) patrols.

Good coffee, and Filters (in ‘barracks,’ there may be a coffee pot, aside from coffee in chow hall).
Travel Packs of Wipes.
ONLY Black or Brown Pony Tail Holders for the ladies.
A Touch Of Home - like small decorations (garlands. etc) at holiday time. And lay some Sunday funnies and/or the PARADE section in the bottom of the box.

Consider pocket calendars and RETRACTABLE (click!) pens in Dec. Never too late in the year for these - soldiers always rotating in and out.

Written Note Cards of uplifting thoughts, thanks, and appreciation.
No need to tell our heroes of our fallen souffle! (You’d be surprised . . .)
We are told of all we can send from the U.S., the cards of thanks are most appreciated.
Consider jotting down your e-mail address.
It is rare, but you may get a reply.
Mostly not.
HAVE NO expectations, tho. They are busy! And this is not a Pen Pal situation!
Also consider adding a few picture post cards of your city or state.

Don’t be overly concerned what and where - over there they will get it sorted out!

Some of those dollar stores and other discount stores have perfect items from time to time.

Suggest either filling quart baggies with an assortment of items, for an individual ‘soldier,’ times however many filled baggies fit in the box, or filling a box in bulk, but putting items in gallon baggies - you can figure it out. Plastic baggies are appreciated over there, and guarantees a ‘clean’ mailing in the boxes. Also suggest taping all outer exposed edges of the box - helps keep out the sand.

Think of at least 2 weeks lead time for boxes to get there - it’s ‘faster’ now - we’ve been there for years.
The way it works, the zip in the address tells that the box will go to NY or San Francisco (one coast or another) by USPS, and the Military picks it up from there. They fill all nooks and crannies on their aircraft with our boxes, I’m sure!
But, you know, it’s NEVER too late over there for a box!

Good Luck! You will feel wonderful, and our serving men and women will be happy to hear from you, AND receive those goodies!

God Bless The U. S. A. And Her Fighting Forces!

[Yes, I have sent boxes for years, within a club I belong to].