Thursday, November 10, 2016

Sending Care: Ways to brighten a service member's day

Being away from family and friends can be really hard.  Being away from family and friends and in the middle of a combat zone can be even more so.  For many who serve overseas in the military, this time of year can be extremely difficult. Fortunately, there are millions of caring people who send care packages to encourage our service members.

If you have never sent a care package there can be a lot of questions about what to send and how to find a service member in need. In yesterday’s blog we discussed tips on how to protect you and your wallet from fraudulent charities.  If you use those tools you can easily find a charity that you can send care packages through either by helping to fund the organization, or even by adopting a soldier.

If you have the opportunity to adopt a solider (or if you know a friend or relative is serving), here is a list of some items that are needed and wanted:

Personal care and grooming items: Toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental floss, cotton swabs, shaving lotion, disposable razors, shampoo feminine products, and tissues. Disposable hand warmers, goggle-style sunglasses, cotton socks and undergarments are also recommended.
Food and drinks: If you plan on sending food, make sure it’s sealed and cannot be contaminated by soaps and liquids. Eating soggy soapy cookies could dampen anyone’s spirits.  In fact, it is encouraged to send non-perishable packaged goods. As shipment time varies and could take a while to reach a service member.
It is recommended that if you know of something that a military member can’t get overseas to include it, such as their favorite condiment and seasonings.
Powered drink mixes:. Hot cocoa, instant coffee, tea, sports drink mixes and water flavor enhancers.
Reading and creative materials: Paperback books, comics and magazines, word puzzles, coloring books and crossword puzzles, sketchbooks and notebooks. (Pens and pencils would be a good addition as well)
Games: Small sports toys such as foam footballs and basketballs, Frisbees, playing cards and hacky sacks.

Electronics: mp3 players with loaded music, small earbuds, CDs, DVDs, handheld games. Include AA and D batteries. But remove the batteries so the appliance doesn’t turn on.
Sentimental items:  Hand-written letters, or photos of how life is going at home are highly valued by service members. Consider using USB drives with video and photos of loved ones saved, include blank ones as well.

These are just a few ideas of what to send our armed forces during this time of year. We encourage you to do your research and find the charity that can serve you and your armed forces member the best. If you are mailing your own be sure to check up on what size of a box can be shipped. Many care package guidelines recommend not going larger than a shoe box.

It is also strongly encouraged to check with where your armed forces member is stationed. Some materials simply are not allowed in certain countries.

If you are packing items that need to be protected, consider using packaging that also can be functional. (Such as popped popcorn in baggies, bean bag toys that can be given to local children, packages of tissues, socks or newspapers.)

Check out these links for more information on care packages:

We at KDOT would like to thank our military who have served and who are still serving. Have a safe Veteran’s Day. 

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