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Thursday, January 08, 2009

Care Package Ideas

Care Packages... Parcels Sent With Love

I have had many people requesting ideas for care packages. Yes.. this list has been truly in the making. My son and his section has assisted in compiling this list. As well, I have added a few things that I've sent along with some ideas from fellow military families.
The main thing, enjoy creating and packing.
One of the first things I do is line the inside of the parcel with a garbage bag. It will protect the box in case of leakage from your parcel or someone else's. (Thanks for the tip P.C. )

o.k... here goes:
  • Toothpaste (Colgate Total Whitening preferred)
  • Foot Powder (Gold Bond Extra Strength)
  • Shampoo
  • Body wash (a masculine scent)
  • Deodorant (NOT ANTIPERSPIRANT!) they need to perspire.
  • Toothbrushes (cheap spin brushes)
  • Toothbrush caps (to stop the toothbrush head from getting dirty)
  • Qtips (for hygiene and cleaning guns)
  • Insoles (A BIG deal. They come in a one size fits all- cuttable size)
  • Stereo Earbuds (these are always in demand and keep getting destroyed)
  • Pens! (Blue, Red - if they can't use them they will donate them to those who can!)
  • Plastic (clear) rulers - short ones
  • Dental flossers
  • Carbiners - they hold gear in place and you can never have enough. Pref. Tan, green, black but they can paint them
  • Under Armour Socks - The new cadillac in socks. Will keep moisture out.
  • Anti fungal foot spray - Important- stops athletes foot and nails from turning yellow. Always spray in their boots before sleep.
  • Baby wipes/ Wet Ones- Anti- bacterial - for all your showering needs
  • Magazines - Auto Trend, Auto mags, Hockey mags, sports mags, or of their special interest
  • PSP games - They are for the Playstation Portable - guys spend hours playing them during downtime
  • Sudoku - everyone's doing it
  • Crosswords
  • Brainteasers
  • flipflops for the shower

    Use a theme for your care packages.

Either follow seasonal themes or get creative with entertaining themes like “cocktail party”, “romance”, “motorcycles”, etc. With this rotation, I have created "Theme Packages" Examples below:



  • "Tea for 8" - Different types of teas (eg. gun powder tea, cream pear, maple cream, chocolate tea), self sealing teabags, a metal teapot, tea buiscuits, honey, sugar cubes, serviettes and teaspoons. "lift those pinky fingers!"

  • "Movies at the FOB" - I created admit tickets for the section, popcorn, popcorn containers, a couple of comedies, Junior Mints and M&M's

  • "A Taste of Maple.. A Taste of Canada" - Maple syrup, maple candies, maple sugar, maple coffee, maple tea, maple cookies.. and a Maple Leaf that I had pressed from home.

  • "Rub a Dub Dub - Time for a Scrub" - toothbrushes, toothpaste, deoderant, foot powder, wet ones, shampoo/body wash (a container that's for both), soaps, insoles, rubber duck

  • Keepin' it Hot.. Keepin' it Warm (for the cold season)- hot chocolate (Tim Hortons), marshmallows, cappacino mix (Tim Hortons), Mitt warmers, pepper jelly, jalepeno spice mix, hot sauce, Maxim Magazines (a HUGE thing for a mom to reach up and buy)

  • Munchies Madness - chips, nuts, homemade trailmix (peanuts, almonds, dried cranberries, raisins, m&m's), Smartfood (popcorn), hard candies, etc.

  • Deck the FOB with boughs of holly (Christmas in a box) - small Christmas tree, solar Christmas lights, unbreakable balls, tinsel, etc

    Other things I've sent:
  • Photo ornament (a big ornament that allows you to download up to 70 pictures for a slideshow) I uploaded pictures of family and friends and some pics that would make anyone smile. There is a keychain available on the market as well.

  • Small Photo album - with each letter I send a couple of pictures of the weather, family, the dog, gas prices, etc. to which he puts into the album

  • A soft, luxurious pillowcase that a friend helped me embroider. I hand embroidered the other one - a heart :) (perhaps a pillowcase from home - they like the smell of home)
  • A self inflating mattress - for back at the base -a little reprieve from the ground.

  • Include light reading suited to their tastes. I've sent a couple of books.
  • Comics or jokes that he can share with others

  • A copy of the local newspaper (he can keep up with the news and prices of things)

  • A calendar

  • solar light with a yellow ribbon tied onto it

  • DVD - I have recorded a bundle of favourite tv comedy shows or shows they are missing

  • Beef Jerkey

  • Pepperoni Sticks

  • Kraft Dinner (don't send the ketchup - it explodes)

  • Pringles (don't send the small snack size - the cans pop open)

  • non aerosole shaving gel (shaving cream)

  • pencils and sharpeners

  • waterproof jotbook (book with waterproof pages for writing notes on - available at CANEX)

  • movie clips of friends and family

  • Tim Hortons coupons for soldiers in KAF

  • Candies and decorations colaborating with the holiday. eg. Hallowe'en - treats, rubber spiders, snakes, masks, plastic pumpkins, etc.

  • Liquids should not be sent if it can be avoided, but if they must be sent, be sure to at least double bag them. Zip-lock type bags are great for this and can be re-used at the other end.

  • Old bedsheets (that do not need to come home after the tour) can make sleep a little easier. Pack them with acouple of dryer sheets in between thelayers to give them a fresh scent.

  • Children’s drawings are always well received and can be mailed in parcels or in letters

  • Chapstick (lip balm)

  • Gum (Trident White or Excel White)
  • Cookies

Of course - with most of the items, he will share with the other soldiers and the rest he will leave behind for the incoming troops.

NOTE: If you're a soldier or a family member or friend.. If there's anything you would like to add.. please... let me know.. let US know. We all benefit from ideas.

Doesn't this picture tear your heart out?

69 comments:

AirmanMom said...

Outstanding post! It is so very important to take care of our soldiers year round!

~AirmanMom returning to her blog...

Navy Dad said...

Read about Postal Mail Deadlines and addressing tips.

SusanE said...

I thought that parcels had to be addressed to specific soldiers.

Can I send to "any Canadian soldier"?
Please reply personal or post comment, I have checked for feeds
evenden.susan@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

don't forget the crystal light single packs for flavouring that tepid water!

Thanks for the list Rose!

Love,
db

Jon's Dad said...

My son is currently serving in a FOB in Sperwan Ghar. As a triathlete I understand the importance of hydration and nutrition as it relates to performance. I have been sending my son on a monthly basis a supply of Whey Protien Isolate (Isoflex Brand)... it's a powder they can mix with water or milk. It is a great resource in helping to maintain muscle matter. One 2 lb. container should last about a month. Send a plastic mixing cup with this.

I also send a couple of boxes of Suspension Gels each month. These are a 2 oz. squeeze packet that contains Carbohydrates, Protiens,
B2, B3, B6, Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Potassium etc.. all great things top keep them on their game! They can easily store these in their attack vest when they are out on patrol. My son loves these.

If you are looking for these, just check out your local GNC, Running Shoe Store, Sport Shop etc..they can help you out.

jd1daddy@gmail.com said...

I thought this was a great entry and my wife and I love putting packages together too.

I recently found out about this great care package company, Box-O-Box that you might enjoy. They send fun care packages to college students, soldiers or anyone.

If you ever find yourself without the time to put the care packages together, they are a great option. I know they've helped me out once or twice already.

Thanks!

Jim

NanceMerrill said...

So happy to find this info- My soldier is new in Balad and older- 22 yrs in Air Force. I and his family are trying to send love and support for he and his friends. I am wondering if anybody can recommend a battery run DVD/CD player or something like that ? I want Jim to have music over there and think he and his friends would enjoy it. HE needs something that is battery powered. Thank you so much- I am at nancemerrill@aol if any suggestions. Bless you all- and GOD BLESS OUR SOLDIERS..

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the Ideas!

My Husband is on a ship. Some things I've sent him are:
Hand Sanitizer, Lysol wipes, Febreeze. (Make sure you put these things in baggies.)
I've known people to create a pillow case using iron on pictures so they fall asleep to pictures of home.
Walmart.com also has a lot of neat photo gifts you can make including photo calendars.

Plastic business cards said...

Your blog is informative and provide useful information.

Laurie said...

Thank you so much, my "baby bro" (we grew up next door to each other) just was deployed at the beginning of the month n I was feeling lost... God bless you for thinking to share this information!

Lindsey said...

Hey! My husband is a marine and is currently in Iraq and I know that he really likes getting those small drink packets. (Like kool-aid or crystal light) The ones that you put in a water bottle and make a drink out of. They put them in their canteens :)

Brandi said...

My husband is on his second tour in Iraq right now. I am currently getting together a Halloween package for him and the troops over there. Thanks for the tips and ideas! God Bless!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this.. these ideas are great! My husband and I are newly weds dealing with this first deployment and I am just trying to do my best to keep him happy and also to let him know that I will always be here for him. Thanks again : )

-Charon

Anonymous said...

I sent my son an itunes card so he could download music, games, or movies on his computer

Anonymous said...

thank you so much for this post. my neighbor of... forever deploys tomorrow and i was looking for ideas of what to send him while he is in afghanistan.i really appreciate your help!

Neurological said...

Thank you soo much for all of the great ideas! I have sent one care package already to my boyfriend who left in October for Iraq, I know what he likes, but would also like to send things to those soldiers who are not receiving care packages! The more networking and sharing we can do the more we can do for our men and women who are fighting for our freedom everyday!
Thank you!

The Moose said...

Thanks for the ideas.I'm sending a pack to a childhood friend serving in Afgan. ! Hope your son and all come home safely! God bless!

lonely said...

My boyfriend just left for a yearlong tour to Afghanistan. I'm already missing him and hoping to send him as much love as possible asap. Your website gave me some great ideas. How long does it take for a package to reach a soldier over there?

Anonymous said...

Great post,
insoles are a great idea. Make sure before your soldier leaves you know their shoe and boot sizes, that way if they need shoes or boots you can send them a pair (the ones they sell down there don't always work out).
Holiday themes are fun, card games like Uno and Rook.
I try to keep him up with things like girl scout cookies, water flavouring packets, energy bars, beef jerky and the like. Every once and a while, a nice brand new BIG fluffy towel does wonders too, and a nice new pricy washcloth.

Always thinking of more ideas for my husband too. If your husband smokes, at least embrace it for the deployment and send him a carton of his favorite cigarettes (they usually only sell one kind down range).

Remember too, it's the thought that counts.

Steve said...

My brother is currently in Afghanistan. According to him, Beef Jerky and Slim Jims are in high demand by the troops. I just sent a care package full of them! I think it is a good idea to keep food items separate from hygiene supplies. So every now and then, I try to send him some hygiene supplies (like body powder, hand sanitizer, ect.) in a separate package, so if it does get damaged, the food that I send doesn't taste like body powder! It's also a good idea to wrap everything in individual zip lock bags, just in case something gets damaged, it doesn't leak out everywhere.

Deborah said...

It takes about 7-13 days. My son is in Iraq and we have the packages situated where he is now getting one every week.

jigmom said...

We are sending homemade cookies to a friend in Afghanistan. What is the best way to package them? I was going to put them in a ziploc bag and then in a plastic container. My husband thinks they will sweat and get moisture in the ziploc bag. Appreciate any advise.

Infojunkie1975 said...

What about non military people, regular Canadians who just want to send a little something to let them know we are thinking of them?

Infojunkie1975 said...

What about non military people, regular Canadians who just want to send a little something to let them know we are thinking of them?

Joan said...

Thank you for this site!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for taking the time to do this site, it has been very helpful!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for all the good ideas. I have one of My best friends in Afghanistan now for the next 18 months and he sends me messages all the time.He is very lonely.

Rosie Georgia

Plastic Card said...

Great tutorial for me..:)

Kuturah said...

Hi! my ex leaves for Afhanistan this Sunday. I'm curious, do you all worry the entire time they're gone, or does it get easier as time goes along?

Kuturah said...

@Rosie Georgia. How do you two communicate?

Military Mom said...

Kuturah.. sorry, but you always worry. It's only natural. What helped to get me through was writing letters, creating care packages, sewing or crafting small things to send. Personally, The first couple months were the MOST difficult. The middle section was a little easier?if that's possible and the last months were difficult again.(However,I must stress,it is different for every tour, every person, etc.) A lot is dependent on good friends, good support, etc as well.
Keep busy,and remember, you're not alone. ~ m.m.

Military Mom said...

Unfortunately, only family and friends of soldiers are permitted to send parcels at this time. Cards or letters only are always welcomed for "Any Canadian Soldier"
Rather than addressing it to "Any Canadian Soldier", I'll address it to:
"A Canadian Hero"
Op Athena
PO Box 5058 Stn Forces
Belleville ON K8N 5W6

If I hear of an alternate way to send something, I'll let you know.

Is the same in the US? If you're from the US, could you please post a comment below as to sending parcels as I'm sure it's different than for Canada.
Thank you,
Regards,
m.m.

Anonymous said...

We'd really like to send a care package to a member of the "No Parcel Club", as featured in your photo above. I'm sure that club is sadly well-represented. Yet regulations seem to stipulate that only friends and family can send packages. Is there any way we might be designated a "friend" of someone who could really use a care package from Canada? Is it possible to get a name (of a person or his/her commanding officer to send it through?)from Canadian Forces somehow? It just seems really discriminatory that our young men and women who don't already have support at home are "hooped", when a care package might really brighten their day, and ease their deployment, even if only a small bit. Would love to be part of the solution. Thank you!

Charlene Rogers said...

I am not a soldier, or a family member of one, but I think of them all the time.. I would like to possibly be able to send something as well.. Is there somewhere I can go to find a list of names and addresses? My children and I would like to send a small care package..My email address is lancalette2@hotmail.com

Kristie said...

Thank You so much for the information. There is a little boy in my daughters class who's father is on his way back to Afghanistan. We are planning on sending 2 care packages before classes are out in May. I appreciate your ideas!

Anonymous said...

My boyfriend is in Afghan and Ive had to be creative. I just sent cake in a jar...where you bake their favorite cake in a canning jar,boil lids and lid them as you pull them out of the oven. They will stay fresh for you to mail. Rat traps and flea collars are needed. Also milk in a box with cereal, sterno to heat food and sterno stove if you can find one. I also try and theme some of my boxes, decorate the inside of the box with his favorite sports team colors and stickers, pics of us and places we have been, family pics. Just about anything that will make him feel closer to home. Hope this will help and thanks to all who suport our men and women over there!

Zafran ali said...

Nice creative idea & so nice care package.

plastic card printing

Mahmood said...

Your suggested tips are so gorgeous!!!
Plastic Business Cards

Anonymous said...

My son was in Iraq in the beginning and then in Afghanistan last year and his biggest request was for Zip Lock Baggies of all Sizes. The sand gets into everything and this helps them keep all as sand free as can be possible.

Anonymous said...

My husband said kleenex is always needed.

WhatsForDinner? said...

I'm putting this link on my facebook. Thank you for all your dedication in putting this out there. My husband has been overseas so many times... this puts the
remembering what to put in the box really easy

Anonymous said...

If it hasn't already been posted, Under armor has been banned because of flammability and how open wounds react to the material.

faith4u.ca said...

Hi!
THANKS SO MUCH for all this information. We're a church getting a care package together for one of our guys there now.
LOVE the list of stuff you provided we can send!
HOWEVER, someone at the church asked if there was a list of things we should NOT send...or at least some more guidelines. You know, stuff we should NOT send, along with a list of things that are also probably not a good idea to send.
THanks in advance!

Anonymous said...

Hey there, They LOVE LOVE fruit chilliers over there right now. They sell them in the canned fruit section. Also, chef boy-ar-dee is like gold over there. They can't get enough.

Chelsea said...

My best friend just got deployed and I had no idea what to send him this list has helped so much! Thank you so so so much!!!

Anonymous said...

Sending care packages has become a way to bide time between very few conversations. Being in college and having a finace over seas does something to the way you look at life, but I enjoy meaningful packages. The last package was a "memories" package. So with in the package I had two weeks of letters written since the last time I had heard from him. In each letter I had written a fond memory of when we had done something fun, or memorable. One letter had a memory about strawberry chapstick so I also sent chapstick with the package. All the letters had a memory with a practical item that he could use. When he recieved it he said that reliving the memories through the letters was a nice escape from what was happening around him, and little things that went with the letters were all practical which he said made the package that much better. . . I have learned with this process that it is not the money you spend on the package, but the way it makes your soldier feel. Good luck and stay strong to all of you out there with loved ones over seas!

Anonymous said...

I love this! My sister is newly serving our country and is finally getting to her post for the next year. I love the idea of iron on pictures for a pillow case! she has three kids of her own and that idea sounds perfect!

Anonymous said...

For all those families wanting to send home made cookies. The trick is to send the cookies in pringle containers! works every time! make sure if your buying a pringle container just for cookies to buy regular flavor otherwise the container might make the cookies taste like (for exampe) BBQ. lol Good luck everyone! Love our troops! :)

ravenbran20 said...

Thank you for restoring my faith in humanity. You should stand proud for what you do. It's a tough job to be a Military Mom/Wife and you are among my heroes!

SEMPER FI

Military Mom said...

Dear Ravenbran20...
I TRULY appreciate your comment. It helps more than you'll ever know. Thank you for taking the time to stop by my (our) blog and your contribution to the site. You have restored MY faith as well.
Always standing proudly behind our troops throughout the world.
~m.m.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for ALL the wonderful ideas and helpful information. I'm sending my first care package to my niece who is in the Navy. I wasn't sure what I could or should send her but your site has been a BIG help. Thanks again for all your time and effort. God Bless :)

Anonymous said...

hello im currently over seas in afghanistan is there any way I could set up something to receive care packages for my company?

Military Mom said...

Dear Anonymous (6:04 AM) from previous comment;
Please send me a note at my email address with info etc. militarymomathome@hotmail.com Info will be kept in confidence. I'll then see what we can do here for you :)
Keep safe. ~ Military Mom

Anonymous said...

My son is getting ready for his third deployment and new ideas are always welcome. Thanks so much!

Anonymous said...

Hi! My boyfriend has been in Afghanistan for about a month now and I know its cold there so I made him a fleece tie throw blanket. We took a superhero quiz before he left and so I found fabric with the two superheros and a solid color and cut and tied them together. It will keep him warm and I also cut a heart out of paper and wrote "I want to wake up where you are" and pinned it to the inside of the blanket. That way when he wakes up in the morning its the first thing he sees. He also dedicated a song to me and so I decorated a frame with some of the lyrics with things from Michael's and put a pic of us in it. He loves it so much! But I also decorate each box too! Each one has a theme to make him happy. The next one is a scrap book theme where I will make the box look all scrap booky with pics of his friends and families and little memories all over. Something I also made was a customized calendar on Shutterfly(great site!!!) and got tons of pics and quotes and put them on the calendar. I also included all the important dates on it as well as cute romantic things and little things to do on occasional days like, "learn a new joke today," or "Look at the moon tonight, I will too!" I can't wait until he gets it all!!! This site was very helpful though. Thank you kindly!

Anonymous said...

Paula-La

I have had many people dear to me deployed and returned home safetly and I am currently supporting two soldiers who are deplyed. They haven't always been able to reply regularly but have said how much the packages and letters mean to them. So far they have said that the drink packages and snack containers of fruit and things like life savers and tissues are very useful but also things like pens and blank cards. Along with personal hygeine items are great. They have said on more than one occasion that whatever they don't need or like they pass on to other soldiers who do. They are grateful even if they can't always let you know. It makes me feel wonderful to know it helps them..

Paula

Military Mom said...

To "Annonymous": Thank you for posting. Your boyfriend must truly look forward to your parcels. What great personal touches! You take care and remember we're here if you need us.

@Paula: Keep up your amazing work! Such dedication really makes our soldiers know that we care and support them while they are overseas. Thank you.

To all people: families, friends, etc. Continue sending letters. It shows our support and care. When sending a letter, include some paper and envelopes for them to correspond. Keep up all the good work everyone! In Support ~ m.m.

ckimwatts said...

Thank you so much for all the hard work and love that you put into this site. My oldest son just began his first deployment in Afgan. and all the ideas you have shared ........ :-)))))) I love getting care packages together for him and his buddies. This site is a tremendous help. God bless you. From one military Mom to another.....We will walk this journey one prayer at a time....one moment at a time.

Roqs Ramirez said...

Inbox me at roqs04@gmail.com

Roqs Ramirez said...

My husband leaves to Afghanistan this Thursday . We have compiled a list and some things on here were not on our list,thanks so much for the lists and also ideas . I look forward to making the packages and mostly not making them knowing he is on his way back him to our two young children and myself. He is an army medic out there saving lives I would appreciative prayers and I appreciative this site so much. Thanks. Roqs!

Anonymous said...

Hi...I'm trying to find the address to send my brother a carepackage..he was deployed from Tidworth Wilstshire to Afghan in March of this year. Is there any way I can find out the address online? I hate to think he's going to serve 6 months out there without a prezzie from his family..PLEASE HELP!! thank you & God bless u...Mila

Anonymous said...

Hi...God bless you for your blog. I'm trying to find my brothers address in Afghanistan so I can send him some goodies. Can someone please help me? I dont want to imagine him going for 6 months without receiving anything from his family. I live in the US. Much love & respect...God bless, Mila

Karen Short said...

Thank you so much for posting this list!! It is so helpful!! My son is serving in Afghanistan as a Combat Medic for the Marines. He has asked me to send some Kool-Aid Singles, Fox River socks (Maximum) and Gorilla Glue Tape because the medical tape won't stick when the body is wet from sweat. Hope this also helps with the list. God Bless Ya All!!

kelly said...

Thanks for posting this. My son leaves for his first deployment to Afghanistan soon and I needed ideas on things to send to him.

Rose said...

I sent this to my husband for Christmas while he was deployed, he loved it.
http://miltarystockings.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

for anyone who wants to send a package you can "adopt a soldier" look it up on google, ive heard it is easy to sign up to do.

in addition to the ideas posted my husband enjoys cake and pie in a jar, send the icing separate.

Anonymous said...

Just put a care package together for a good friend of mine. I included some green teas because they can be drank or put on bug bites/small wounds to help them heal. I also included lots of mini soaps, lotions, toothpastes etc. He also said he wanted toilet paper. So I packed him some toilet paper as well as a ton of other various necessities and fun items. :)

Anonymous said...

In the United States, "Any Soldier" has been closed.

However, anysoldier.com has found a way around this.

Cameron Robertson said...

That is a really good advise, to line the storage boxes with garbage bags first, to prevent water from seeping in, in case of rain or leakage. I agree that careful labelling and organizing of all the boxed up items are really important. This is especially true if you have items that need to be delivered to self storage. The labels are for your own easy retrieval in the future.