Support the troops is a phrase that bandied about so easily and carelessly these days that it's almost lost its meaning. One of the best ways to truly let the service men and women who are serving in the military is with the personal touch of a care package. But what should one pack in soldier care packages? Here are some suggestions for care package items.
First and foremost are personal letters. Soldiers love to get mail from home and they love to share their mail with their fellow soldiers. For their own protection you will want to exclude the last names and addresses of any letters or packages sent from children.
As for the other items to pack in your soldier care packages there are some basic things to think about. While food is one of the most popular items you should also think about relieving bodies in extreme temperatures and relieving boredom during down time. Here is a list of some toiletries that are always in demand:
-extremely dry skin lotion
-athletes foot powder or cream
-cushioned shoe insoles
– Insect repellent (wipes or gels only)
* Note-be sure to put any painted or liquid items in sealable zip-lock bags
For food items home-made goods are always the best but keep in mind that they could be traveling for up to three or four weeks and all items need to be well contained in air-tight packages or baggies. There are many pre-packaged foods that travel well and keep for months if not opened. Some of the most requested food items are:
-beef jerky or Slim Jims (no pork products for soldiers serving in Muslim countries)
-tuna fish in a pouch
-any additives to add flavor to water like Kool-Aid, Gatorade, Crystal Light, iced tea mix, etc
-soup in a cup
-fruit or pudding cups (make sure pudding is non-refrigerated kind)
-chocolates (but only between the months of October-April as temperatures can reach up to 130 and beyond in some countries)
* Note-don't forget plastic silverware with food items and make sure any liquid items are sealed in sealable zip-lock bags and do not ship any glass containers or alcohol products
For relieving boredom one might consider packing a few of the following:
-DVDs or video games
-puzzles or puzzle books
-darts or mini golf putting greens
Some other nice touches are pre-paid phone cards, batteries, sewing kits, and socks, towels, and washcloths. So, send a soldier a little love from home and send a care package today!