Sending care packages to soldiers in Iraq or Afghanistan

I often get asked by people what they should send in care packages to soldiers who have been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when deciding what to send. It’s hard to create a list of the “best” stuff to send in care packages, because the things that soldiers need will depend greatly on where they are stationed, whether there is a PX nearby, and what their individual preferences are. Here are some general tips to keep in mind (I use “he” a lot, but these apply to female soldiers as well!):

  • The classics are always a safe bet: baked goods, snack foods, drink mixes, or anything that can keep well without refrigeration. This includes Lunchables, tuna salad kits… basically any alternative to Army food. Try to get bulk sizes (Sam’s Club!) if possible so he/she can share and trade with others.
  • Coffee, sugar, and creamer are always in short supply. Find out if they have a coffee maker, and if not send instant. Even if your soldier doesn’t like coffee much, a) he’ll probably learn to! and b) he’ll make great friends with the other coffee drinkers in his platoon!
  • Toiletries aren’t too hard to come by anymore, but if there is a particular brand he uses that’s not available over there, send that his way.
  • Phone cards, envelopes, and postage stamps are a great way to help your soldier keep in touch. Find out first what type of phones are available; some use regular phone cards while others have to use Hello a certain provider’s card.
  • Most base camps now have electricity, and so many soldiers have portable DVD players (or a laptop with a DVD player), CD/MP3 players (ipods), GameBoys, and the like. So send new DVDs, CDs, games, etc. that your soldier may like to help break the monotony. AA batteries also help a lot for these small personal devices.
  • Magazines are always good; send ones you know he likes (or has similar interests to) or just general magazines that people his age enjoy. They’ll Home all get passed around to everyone else anyway. If there’s a website he visits regularly (such as news, sports, etc.) then print out some articles and include those too.
  • Whatever your soldier likes at home, he will like while deployed. If he really likes your homemade cookies, send plenty of those. And if he doesn’t do crossword puzzles while at home, he won’t like them while deployed either!
  • Anything that helps him stay connected to home is great. If he cheap jerseys misses a big family reunion or a bunch of his friends get together for a night on the cheap mlb jerseys town, be sure to send lots of pictures of those. If he has children, young relatives, or pets that he misses, send new pictures of those too. If it’s a Bonjour coworker, get everyone together for a group photo holding a sign that says “we miss you!” These will help to ease the feeling that he’s “missing out on life” while he’s gone.
  • If he’s been there for a while, instead of trying wholesale mlb jerseys to guess what he likes/needs, just ask! Don’t worry about “ruining the surprise”; only he can tell you what he’d like that he can’t get nearby.
  • Don’t fret too much about what to send; just send something. Aaron Just as important as what’s in the package is that you thought enough to send one, and that connection to home is priceless. If he lives Hello in a remote camp that only gets mail a few times a month, there is nothing worse than mail day coming and going without receiving anything. If it’s a choice between one big package once, and several small packages often, go for often. Get together with a group of family or friends and take turns each week sending a package.

UPDATE: I have found a website, AnySoldier.com, which helps people send care packages to “any soldier” (hopefully those that don’t ordinarily get much mail) for those who would like to help out but who don’t personally know anyone to send stuff to.

Posted in General
412 comments on “Sending care packages to soldiers in Iraq or Afghanistan
  1. aldo camminati says:

    baby wipes
    granola bars
    soups
    no candy
    no soaps
    no shampo
    creams, hands boby
    socks

  2. allen campbell says:

    if i dont know anyone in iraq, how do i send a package?

  3. Kelly Stickley says:

    I know there are soldiers in Iraq who have no one back how to write to and get letters and care packages from. Iwould like to help out and correspond with some of them but every web site I find wants money or want the care packages sent to them to be forwarded. Could you please help me get some names and there addresses there so I can help as many as I can. Thank You

  4. toby says:

    Hi, thanks Allen and Kelly for asking about sending care packages to anonymous soldier. As you probably know, the Post Office and Army no longer allow packages or letters addressed to just "any soldier" for security reasons.

    There are a couple good ways to find a soldier who could use a package from home. One way is just to ask around — friends, coworkers, etc. Chances are you know someone who has a friend or family member that is deployed, whether you realize it or not.

    Another good way is the website I mention above, Anysoldier.com. They have hundreds of "contacts" from all branches of service listed who are currently deployed. You can browse through them and find the name of someone who will accept packages marked "Attn: any soldier" in their care. They all describe their unit and the types of missions they do, as well as the type of packages they’re looking for.

    It’s just interesting to read through their stories, and eventually you’ll come across one that you’ll want to send a package to. Just be sure to include the contact person’s name *as well as* "Any Soldier" to make sure it gets delivered.

  5. kh says:

    Hi,
    Anyone know about how long it takes a package to get from US east coast to Baghdad? I sent one on 9/16…just curious because it doesn’t appear on the USPS tracker…

  6. toby says:

    When sending a package to an APO address, the USPS can track it only as far as the distribution point for that APO’s region. For the Middle East (APO AE), I believe that’s New York. Meaning the USPS delivers it to the Army in New York, then the Army puts it on the first available flight to the region.

    So, you will not receive any more tracking information once the Army gets it. When I was deployed in 2003, it generally took 2-3 weeks from the postmark date for me to get stuff. That all depends on lots of factors like availability of flights, how often the recipient’s unit picks up mail, etc.

  7. annie says:

    I sent my cousin a cheap handheld fishing game, available in any WalMart. He and his friends loved it, he reported they couldn’t put it down. I sent lots of batteries, so even if he gets tired of it, he can pass it on to someone else. I’m about to send another one, any ideas that would fun and successful? I have the food and magazines he likes down, but I’d like to include a surprise too.

  8. Taylor says:

    my school is going to send care packages to iraq.where do we send them to?

  9. Karen says:

    I had heard that there are certain items are are polically incorrect to send… such a beef products. Any comments.????

  10. toby says:

    No, there is no problem with sending "politically incorrect" items such as beef. There are restrictions based on the area they are being sent to against some things like obscene/dangerous materials, etc.

    While sending beef/pork/etc. to soldiers is OK, no doubt those soldiers will have already been given training on how not to offend local civilians with these items. Every soldier deployed overseas goes through extensive training on local customs, taboos, beliefs, etc. in order to help prevent these things from becoming an issue.

    If in doubt, ask the post office; they have a list of specifically prohibited items. However, when filling out your custom declarations form, you’ll find that being just a little vague can sometimes be of help.

  11. 1-506th Dad says:

    Instead of "any soldier" check with friends who have relatives overseas. Ask them to check with their soldier for guys in his platoon who never get mail. That way it will be personal. A great website for ideas is http://www.operationmilitar… Lots of good ideas and tips for mailing. The post office has a two sizes of flat rate boxes – stuff them with as much as possible and it only costs $7.50 to mail.

  12. 1 SG wife says:

    My husband is in Balad, Iraq. He is requiesting homemade baked goods, but I worry that by the time they arive they will be no good. What can I bake that will stay fresh for that long and how should I package them?

  13. Rhianna says:

    My Fiancee is in iraq now and what I hear from him is that the water is basically Sewage and any bottled water(even though that may be a heavy thing to send) Wipes, Hand sanitizer, and anything else that could help them be a little more sanitary would be great! he said beef Jerkerky and Gum are a big hit! He’s really having a hard time being away from home, he could use some words of support from others! His name is Joe and his address is

    (Address removed; see comment #270)

    Any encouragement helps!! Thanks

  14. neha says:

    how and where do i send a package to a soldier if i don’t know any?

  15. sarah says:

    I see alot of questions about where to send a package to a soldier who might not be getting anything from back in the states. My husband is deployed to Afghanistan and I know there are some guys in his unit that dont have anybody at home and would love to get something in the mail even if it is just a card. If you are interested in sending something please email me for the address.

  16. SGT Siebenaler says:

    I have three guys in my team that don’t get a lot of mail. They’re names are SPC Pinska, Tyler; SPC Conlin, Seth; SPC Turcotte, Nicolas. Their address is,

    (Address removed; see comment #270)

  17. zac says:

    me and my dad want to send packages to iraq but we dont know to give them to someone or to go to a post office. anyways can u help us out on what to do and what to bring?

    thanks alot
    zac

  18. toby says:

    Hello Zac,

    If you don’t have a particular soldier to send stuff to then AnySoldier.com and TreatAnySoldier.com are two good sites which will help you send care packages to our soldiers overseas. If you do have a specific soldier to send stuff to, then the post office can help you answer any questions.

  19. Mimi says:

    Ummmm but how do you become a pen pal I am 10 and want to become a pen pal to a soldier to a soldier in iraq or iran but what is the adress

  20. beth says:

    I am loking for scottie stevens, she is in the us army.

  21. bj says:

    Adopt a Soldier http://www.adopt-a-soldier.net send letters and packages to a solder who doesn’t get any

    Write letters of support to the soldiers to be read on the air on Spotlight Radio(listen http://www.thespotlightradi…) Show is on Wednesday 11am -1pm EST
    Write letters to lettersto-fromhome@hotmail.com

  22. Gayla says:

    Don’t bother sending postage stamps. Soldiers don’t have to pay postage to send letters home. Uncle Sam covers that. Lunchables need to be refrigerated, they can not tolerate heat. Remember that a phone card that is worth 100 minutes here might only last for 15-20 on an international call.

  23. Gail says:

    Did anyone answer the question on how to make & pkg. baked goods so that they will still be good when they arrive in Iraq?

  24. mis4ta says:

    Gail,

    When you send baked goods, I was told by an veteran mom it’s a good idea to place a piece of bread on top of it and packed in a tin can. That helps with keeping it fresh on it’s long trip. Hope this helps.

  25. CPTS girlfriend says:

    1 SGT WIFE: My boyfriend is overseas and I’ve sent over cookies and brownies in a plastic bag with a slice of bread in them. You can also use unsalted unbuttered popcorn. I’m not sure exactly what it does, but it sure does help to keep the baked goods fresh. He is getting his packages in 4-6 days though. That also helps to keep things fresh. Hope this helps.

  26. Kitty says:

    I belong to an organization called Soldiers’ Angels. I wanted to support our troops overseas so entered my name as an "angel". I received the name of a soldier who I send email, letters and packages to as often as possible. The organization suggests one letter/email a week and one package a month minimum. Military personnel can enter their names as a hero and an angel will be assigned as soon as possible. I’ve met 3 awesome heroes being an angel. Wouldn’t it be awesome if there was an angel for every hero? :o)

  27. Tanya says:

    I do not have much to send to our soldiers, but I would like to send a letter to a whole unit…not just one soldier… That way, any of them that want to make a new friend can write me back and eventually it can become more personal for them. How can I get a letter to a whole unit??

  28. S.D. White says:

    My son is in Afghanistan. Military is new to me and I’m 45 years old. The support you give each other is really touching. I’ve learned so much just by browsing the internet and reading what military families have written. Thanks for sharing your experience with those of us just learning what a sacrifice it truly is.

  29. KZ says:

    My nephew is in Iraq. In his care package I included some random fun stuff: a hoola girl that will stick to the dash of his Humvie and dance as he goes over every bump, a harmonica, a magnetic picture frame, a football magazine, recent local publications, one of the Worst Case Scenario books and some candy all wrapped in gag paper (w/ naked women on the underside of the paper so that when he opened each thing, he was met with more than a smile). He said it’s been his favorite package yet and he said all of his buddies got a kick out of it too.

  30. nnn says:

    Another good thing to send is Air fresheners ..I would have never thought about it , but my husband requested them. Now that I think about it when putting that many boys in one room it is definatly going to stink..especially over there in the heat. Be sure to put them in a ziploc incase they melt.

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  32. IKAIKA13 says:

    Does anyone have some helpful hints on filling out the customs form? The instructions read like tax forms, and state that I have to list the exact content, weight of each object etc and not just a general discription… Did the post office give me the wrong form? As for the baked goods, hows about vaccum sealing them (ie: foodsaver or seal-a-meal)?

  33. toby says:

    Hello Ikaika13,

    Yes, those customs forms are horrible but don’t be too worried about it. Because they use the same form for every country, they err on the side of asking too much information.

    You can give a general description such as "baked goods, 2 lbs.". Other acceptable general terms are "printed reading material", "music CDs", etc. If you aren’t sure what one of the boxes means, just put what you think is right. The weight doesn’t have to be exact either; just put your best guess. If it weighs 6 pounds and you wrote 10, it won’t really matter.

    When sending mail to soldiers using an APO/FPO, the customs form is really just a formality. I have never heard of a package being rejected or held up due to its customs info. In all likelihood, no one will even look at it before it arrives.

    I’ve never tried the vacuum sealing method but it sounds like a good idea!

  34. Stephanie Bowling says:

    On the baked goods questions: I have sent many packages with homemade baked goods. They have taken as long as 3 weeks to get there and they were still fresh when he opened them. Wrap them in plastic wrap, then foil and put in a plastic baggy.

  35. christy reeves says:

    there are alot of men and women out there who need our support. morale can become very low, especially when they feel they have been forgotten. this site is awesome,and can open many hearts that have been so down trodden. remember that the simplest gesture will make a world of difference!

  36. christy reeves says:

    there are alot of men and women out there who need our support. morale can become very low, especially when they feel they have been forgotten. this site is awesome,and can open many hearts that have been so down trodden. remember that the simplest gesture will make a world of difference!

  37. Stephanie says:

    i am doing a grauation project for school… i am trying to get different schools in our county to donate things to be sent over to iraq to different units.. coming from an army family i know what people need over there.. if anyone has any ideas.. please let me know

  38. Connie says:

    Can we send any alcoholic beverages?

  39. Linda Pegg says:

    I am currently supporting our soldiers in Iraq as an MWR Coordinator. As a Mother of a soldier, and as someone who is here in the sand box with them. I will tell you that these guys just want to know that the American people still care about them. I will gladly give you all the addresses you need if you’ll just contact me.

  40. Leah says:

    Here are several idea’s for packages:
    Dried Fruit
    Eye drops
    Granola bars
    Trail Mix
    Sport updates (magazines)
    wet wipes
    face lotion

    My boyfriend is over in Iraq and he says though they have plenty to eat it is not always healthy food. So anything to keep them healthier is a plus!

  41. leann says:

    YOU ALL REALIZE YOU CAN BAKE ANYTHING OK IT WILL STAY GOOD I SENT MY HUSBAND A CAKE AND COOKIES HE SAID THEY WERE STILL VERY SOFT THE ONLY THING IS THEY MIGHT BREAK BUT HEY HE STILL LOVED THEM ANYWAYS AND IF I AM NOT MISTAKEN TOO EXPRESS IS THE ONLY ONE THAT CAN BE TRACKED I BELIEVE IF U SEND SOMETHING VERY VALUABLE SEND IT REGISTERED MAIL YOU MIGHT NOT CAN SEE WHERE IT IS BUT THEY HAVE TO ACCOUNT FOR THE ITEM AND AS FAR AS WHAT TO SEND THE TROOPS I WOULD HAVE TO SAY ALOT OF FREEZE POPS ITS VERY HOT THERE THEY LOVE FREEZE POPS

  42. leann says:

    I WOULD LIKE TO REMIND YOU ALL SOMETHING NOT SAYIN YOU ALL WILL DO IT BUT DON’T YOU CAN NOT SEND ANY ALCOHOL OVER THERE IF U EVEN ATTEMP TOO THEY WILL SEND YOU A NASTY LETTER BACK AND THEY WILL NOT RETURN YOUR ALCOHOL TO YOU THEY WILL DISPOSE OF IT AND TRUST ME THEY CAN FIND OUT THE POST OFFICE IN IRAQ FOUND THIS LIQUOR IN A CAKE OK THE MIDDLE WAS HOLLOWED OUT THEY FOUND IT CRUMBLED THE CAKE IT WAS ALL IN PIECES AND SENT THE CAKE WITH NO LIQUOR THAT PERSON GOT A NASTY NOTE

  43. leann says:

    ON THE CUSTOMS FORM OK IF U HAVE COOKIES JUST SAY COOKIES FOR THE DESCRIPTION AND AS FAR AS THE WEIGHT YOU DON’T HAVE TO PUT THE WEIGHT NOW IT WILL ASK YOU THE VALUE SAY 5.00 10.00 ESTIMATE HOW MUCH IT IS IT DON’T MATTER UNLESS YOU ARE INSURING IT DATE AND SIGN IT

  44. leann says:

    EVERYONE IF U SEND A LETTER FROM APO TO APO THEN PUT MPS ON THE FAR TOP RIGHT CORNER BUT EVEN IF A SOLDIER IS SENDIND A LETTER TO THE STATES OH YES THEY HAVE TO PAY FOR STAMPS NO MATTER WHAT I AM IN GERMANY I DON’T HAVE TO PAY TO SEND MY HUSBAND ANYTHING OR VISE VERSE HE DON’T EITHER BUT IF HE SENDS A LETTER HOME TO THE STATES THEN YES HE DOES HAVE TO PAY TOO AND IF SOMEONE CAN’T AFFORD .39 CENTS SOMETHINGS WRONG

  45. leann says:

    HEY FROM THE US TO IRAQ PACKAGES TAKE ABOUT 7 TO 10DAYS THATS FOR PRIORTY SAM MAIL IS THE LAST THING THAT GETS LOADED ONTO THE TRUCK THAT TAKES LONGER EXPRESS TAKES BETWEEN 2 TO 3 DAYS

  46. Melida De Leon says:

    If I´m in Repdublic of Panama, how can I send even a card to my son in Iraq.

    e-mail:melida_deleon@yahoo.com

  47. Melida De Leon says:

    If I´m in Repdublic of Panama, how can I send even a card to my son in Iraq.

    e-mail:melida_deleon@yahoo.com

  48. Melida De Leon says:

    Ì need to send somethings for my son in Irag, Içm from Reppublic of Panama

  49. Active Duty Military Spouse says:

    Okay…am I the only one disturbed a GREAT deal over the blatant violations of OPSEC/PERSEC on this site? Good grief…why don’t you all just post their SS#’s on here too! You are not supposed to EVER say where they are deployed to…it is considered a "need to know" thing. Heck, the fact that they are deployed is considered "need to know." Also, the two people who put Soldier’s names and addys…shame on you! The Military won’t allow "any soldier" for saftey reasons and now you have given people ALL over the world, including hostile enemies a specific name and addy. Someone needs to delete or augment that post.

  50. toby says:

    Dear Military Spouse,

    Thank you for your comment and I appreciate your concern. As an ex-military member I take OPSEC very seriously and monitor all posts made to this site for problems. In fact I have even "airbrushed" several of the photos in my photo gallery to remove geographical features which could be used to identify locations of troops, etc.

    That said, I do not know of any OPSEC issues involving posting the APO address of a soldier. Most deployed military units’ websites will already post this information for loved ones to contact their soldiers. Information which *does* violate OPSEC would include: dates of troop movements, numbers of troops, specific locations in theater to which a unit is deployed, etc.

    APO addresses can and do change frequently, and can’t really be tied to a specific location in theater, so I don’t have any concern with posting those. I have searched for OPSEC guidelines regarding APO addresses and what I have found reflects this. If you know of more specific information, please feel free to send me an email using my Contact Form:

    http://www.tobiasly.com/ind

  51. Jan from Pennsylvania says:

    Hello. My cousin is stationed near Balad and says it is tough to get potable water. Does anyone know a good site that will ship water reasonably cheap to an APO address? Local shipping center in my hometown has given me a price of about $30.00 to ship 20 pounds, $20.00 for 10 pounds. Does that sound reasonable or am I being ripped off? Thank you for any information.

  52. Marie says:

    My son is literally begging me to send him some liqueor..go figure.
    He gave me specific instructions in a way to send it there, so it would not be detected. Like in a scope bottles.
    Anyone know what the exact rules are for sending this stuff to Afganistan? Isn’t this normally not permitted?

  53. toby says:

    Hello Jan,

    Unfortunately the price you mention is probably rather standard for shipping water. It’s just too heavy. On top of that, what water you get won’t last for very long out there, so all in all it would be very expensive.

    Keeping potable water on hand (whether in water trucks or bottled water) is one of the top priorities of any military unit. Our soldiers simply can’t do their job without lots of water to drink out there, and I’m sure the logistics personnel at your cousin’s battalion are working on making the situation better. Of course there are always glitches that come up but I’m sure the problem will be fixed ASAP.

  54. toby says:

    Marie,

    You are correct, any alcohol is strictly prohibited. Of course that’s not to say people don’t try, but there is absolutely no leeway in the policy.

  55. ARMYWIFE says:

    My husband is in iraq and to send me a letter he writes "free mail" on the corner and I always get his letters and he’s never had to pay for a stamp. I’ve heard from post to post, over seas mail is free including packages. But from US to over seas it is not.
    As for things to send, I send PO flatrate boxes so even if it is filled with bottled water or Gatorade, it still only costs $8 and some change to send. And I buy in bulk and each box contains snacks and drinks, and if i want to stick extras like psp games or movies it’s still only $8! Medicine is also good, asprin, dayquill or nitequill pills, tyger balm, any muscle rub or thermal care heat patches for muscles aches ( after carrying 100+ lbs of stuff all the time you’d need some too!) Travel games like checkers or chess. And for the holidays like Halloween, I send little bags of candy for my husband to pass out to his buddies! Of course its the little things that matter the most, Simple cards that show that your always thinking about him. Ladies, spray your perfume on your letters to your soldiers, they’ll love it!

  56. Gretchen says:

    My friend in Iraq wants me to send soil and seeds for something that will grow in that climate (or under fluorescent light). He is desperate for something green and growing and I like the idea of sending him US soil. Does anyone know if this is ok, or have suggestions for what might grow there?
    Thanks!

  57. Diana says:

    I am excited about sending packages for our soldiers. I’ve read every post here so far and have learned a few things. I’m glad I stumbled on this site. The soil and seeds idea was mentioned on the news a few weeks ago here and it is okay to do so. Please do NOT send any type of liquor – that’s just asking for trouble. I think another idea for those who DO know soldiers by name, send a little package in with the big package for another soldier who has nothing.
    For homemade goodies, use Ziploc baggies. For homemade candies and bars, I’d use tin foil for each one individually, then placed in a small tin or Ziploc baggies. You can also get small plastic decorated tubs that will be cute as well. Include a couple of small unbreakable ornaments. I’m sure that would be a welcomed surprise. Don’t forget video games, CDs, and batteries. Individual sized packets for flavoring water might be nice too. Pictures, postcards, souvenirs, etc…as well as silly putty, Rubik’s Cube, puzzles, People/US magazines, local sports news reports, football, balloons, crackers, cookies, chips, granola bars, fruit snacks, etc… The list is endless. Use your imagination. Also, include a little ‘Thank You’ Card so they can say ‘thanks’ in return. Request more names of soldiers to share with your friends and family members for future care packages.
    Include bandaids, tissues, Tylenol, etc… as well.

  58. Diana says:

    Oh, Gretchen, I have a few ideas for your soil and seeds idea.
    There is a plant called POTHOS. It grows in any temps and is very tolerant to the heat and dry climates. In many parts of the world, they call it ‘the money plant’. It doesn’t have flowers but it’s green and pretty. I’d go with that. Ask a local florist if they could provide you with one of those tubes for keeping it watered until its arrival overseas. But again, it’s very tolerant. You could even put a few ‘starters’ of the plant in a ziploc bag with a heavily soaked paper towel or two. Then put the soil in a separate Ziploc.
    Most ferns and ivy plants are ‘friendly’. You can check with a florist or local grower. POTHOS is like an ivy, it’s very easy to grow and maintain. Send a few different plants (or even Cilantro/Parsley) or their starters in different baggies. Even if a couple don’t make it, the others will – POTHOS for sure.
    Good luck. You CAN do it – it’s allowed.

  59. julie says:

    my husband just deployed one month and 2 days ago. this is his second deployment, but now we have a 17month old little girl. so i sent him a picture of her hands with glitter on it she did in school. he absolutely loved it! and i mailed it just from her to him and that meant so much to him. i am mailing one of his military issued trunks this next week. there was stuff he forgot and needs. where he is at is alot less americanized. there px doesn’t really carry much choices in stuff. there’s not alot for them to do on their off time either. he has also stated that there’s quit a few soldiers that have no one back here so i’m doing my best to send stuff in bulk for him to share. i have made friends with a few of the guys he’s with and am helping send stuff to them too. but if anyone would like to help out it would be greatly appreciated. they are asking for phone cards, peanuts, trail mix, beef jerky, baked goods, gatorade and water, xbox games (new and used), movies (new and old), cd’s (new and mixed), alarm clocks, cigarettes (any kind, they can’t get much there), lifesavers (fruit and mint), gum and bubble gum, twin size sheets (their beds are nasty and they weren’t given ANY sheets!!), blankets and pillows! if i find out more i will post it! but they really are in need and i can only due so much. they don’t need stamps or envelopes, that is given to them and postage IS FREE!!! this is my second deployment with my husband, but the first we were just friends. we are high school sweethearts and not having him here has been tough. he is my gardian angel and hero. i thank god everyday for him. i love seeing all these people supporting our troops and willing to send care packages. even my husband says that no one really knows how much these mean to them!! being over there sometimes the single soldiers feel forgotten about. please help me let them know they are all still remembered and cared about! and i promise that if you mail something for everyone to my husband, he will pass it out to the other guys before he takes anything for himself! THANK YOU VERY MUCH AND PLEASE PRAY FOR OUR SOLDIERS TO COME HOME SAFE AND SOON!

    MAIL CARE PACKAGES TO:

    (Address removed; see comment #270)

  60. Joy says:

    how do you send baked goods so that they are still fresh…any ideas???

  61. Joy says:

    how do you send baked goods so that they are still fresh…any ideas???

  62. Darlene says:

    I just received word that a young friend of my grandaughter was deployed from Fort Hood in this past month. I have his Fort Hood Address but how can I get his APO address in Irag. The young man needs all the encouragement he can get and is from Ohio. I spoke to some of his family and they are at lost too. Can the recruiting office help?

  63. ANNEMARIE says:

    HI. I’D LIKE TO KNOW HOW I CAN SEND PACKAGES FROM SOUTH AFRICA AND HOW I CAN CONTACT SOLDIERS FIGHTING AS TO SAY BE PENPALS. I WANT TO HELP ENCOURAGE AND SUPPORT THEM SO THAT THEY WILL KNOW THAT THEY ARE NOT ALONE. PEOPLE ARE PRAYING AND THINKING OF THEM. PLEASE HELP

  64. Yaka says:

    My boyfriend is down there. And I write him letters but I havent send a package yet, because I thought the military would take of them, because he always said that he is fine. But now while he was on vacation I saw the pictures and I saw the way they have to live. I m German an live here. So I m not quite sure how it works with the packages. So my questions.
    Can I send deoaerosol cans to Iraq? And Coke in plasticbottles?
    And where I have to write down what is inside?Just on top or do I need any special paper? I just can say send more they need this open a box where is sth inside just for you. God bless all the people in iraq. The soldiers and the iraqis. May they find ways for life in future. And may all soldiers come home soon

  65. Jennifer DeAngelis says:

    If sending postage stuff for soldiers to send mail (do they send mail???) — like letter, envelopes, and stamps, etc — what POSTAGE type and amount should you include so they can send letters BACK???

  66. Susan - mom of a soldier says:

    My son has just arrived at his FOB in Iraq, so I’m still new at this…but maybe I can help answer some of the recent questions based on recent research & speaking with a wife of his boss.
    Re: postage – soldiers are supposed to get free postage back to the states.
    At USPS there is what is called a ‘Military Pack’ and they will send all the fixings to you (tape, forms, boxes) free. All you do is supply the postage which is the same as if you were mailing in the states. The ‘flat rate’ box which is $8.10 is a great deal.
    Re: Soldier from Ft Hood – go to the Ft. Hood website and look for FRG which stands for Familly Readiness Group. Those folks should be able to point you in the right direction as to who could supply the address. It is usually the Rear Detatchment officer.
    Re: What to send…I was told to make sure you put ‘everything’ in the customs form. If you leave something out, like batteries, and they detect something suspicious, they will probably destroy the package. I’d rather them be safe than sorry with my son!
    I also was told not to send baked goods, to only send things in packages. If anyone has been successful sending home made products, please share.
    I think this is a great website and will visit it often…
    Thank you…

  67. BETTY says:

    Would like to write and share the holiday season with soldiers that are there thru the Christmas season. Please advise me on how to do this. Thank you

  68. Melissa Dyea-Purley says:

    I was reading this as our school is getting ready to send packages for the third year to soldiers from our community. We have always sent them at regular postage rates. Several people mentioned military pack rates. However, when I went to USPS I could not find it. Can someone help me out? Do they get their at the same rate as regular price packages?

    Thank You.

  69. alicia says:

    hey was wondering if neone could help me, i want to send a package to my bf in iraq, hes an american soldier however im british and live in london, and i cant find anywhere that will send to his location. can anyone please help me.
    much appreciated

  70. Alisha says:

    This is awesome. My friend was just deployed to Iraq and I just got his new address. Thank you for all of the awesome ideas and info for sending care packages.

  71. Kristen says:

    just a thought about the water issue… it would be so expensive to send bottles of water, but how about something like a Brita pitcher with a water filtering system? that would be much cheaper!

  72. Theresa says:

    My 21 year old granddaughter is a military policewoman in Iraq. I would love for her to get some mail, goodies, a card or something to know we are thinking of the men and women overseas. Please email me if you would like to send to my granddaughter and her battalion.

  73. Susan - mom of a soldier says:

    You can request a Military pack which is free, or you are supposed to be able to pick up flat rate boxes free from the USPS office. I’m doing that tonite so if I have a problem getting them free, I’ll let you know…The flat rate boxes are all $8.10…no matter how heavy.
    Oops…got to go b4 the po closes!
    Take care everyone…

  74. julie says:

    my husband has been gone almost two months and i swear i’ve sent ten packages! he’s gotten everyone of them. as for the "CUSTOMES FORM" you MUST put every item. now, the weight and cost doesn’t have to be exact, but do list everything, even if it takes more than one form! you can send liquids (soda, shampoo, mouthwash, etc.) just put it into two ziplock bags incase it does leak. as for the "FLAT RATE" boxes, they are out in the open at the post office. they’ll have a RED CIRCLE that says "FLAT RATE" on it! as for the military packaging kit, i’ve never seen or heard of it before and this is our second deployment! for those of you wanting to be a "PIN PAL", my husband just got two through the "ADOPT A SOLDIER" program. i’ll find out how to get connected with it for those of you interested! and for the one needing the mailing address, they don’t get their correct address til they get settled which usually will take from 2 weeks to a month after they deploy! they have to convoy from where they land (after all equipment gets there too) to their final destination, then they will be informed of their final and correct mailing address! even rear detachment won’t know exactly til they’re soldiers are settled! just hang tight and he’ll contact family and friends with his mailing address as soon as he’s notified. we were given an address before my husband left and it was NOT CORRECT! plus, if i would’ve mailed something before he got to that location and checked in, he would’ve never gotten it! just give it time, about a month at the most! thank you everyone for your help and support!

  75. Jennifer says:

    Hi everyone,

    There is a place on the USPS website that addresses the Military Care Kit:

    This is the description of the kit and a link to the page where it details the deadlines for sending packages this holiday season is:

    http://www.usps.com/communi

    The U.S. Postal Service introduced a Military Care Kit, or "Mili-kit" in 2004 to make it easier for military families and friends to send care packages to their loved ones stationed overseas. Since the inception of the Military Care Kit, the U.S. Postal Service has shipped more than 150,000 kits. Each kit contains two Priority Mail boxes, six Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes, eight Priority Mail labels, one roll of Priority Mail tape and eight customs forms with envelopes.

    This kit may be ordered by calling the USPS Expedited Package Supply Center at 1-800-610-8734. There is no charge for the kit. The Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes included in the kit can be shipped to any APO/FPO in the world, regardless of weight, for $8.10.

  76. Pam says:

    Is the USPS the only way to send care packages to Iraq?

  77. brittney says:

    i have a friend who is in iraq. he dosen’t get much mail, but i try to send him some when i can. he is on his second tour. we hope he comes home safe. if you would like you can send packages to my friend in iraq, he would be estatic. thank you.

    (Address removed; see comment #270)

  78. Amy says:

    Hi-

    I just found out that a school friend of mine is currently deployed to iraq. I know his name, and I think his unit. I’d like to send him a letter and was wondering if there was a way to find out the rest of the address…

    Thanks!

  79. Tabitha says:

    Hi,
    I am a Lieutenant in the Marine Corps and this is my first deployment to Iraq. I will be here for a year, and don’t see myself receiving much mail or packages while I am here. I wanted to post my information so that anyone who might want to correspond or send packages can do that. I will definitely be extremely grateful and write all correspondents a reply. Thank you for your support and consideration.

    [Mailing address removed per request of comment submitter; see Comment 139 below]

    Once again, thanks for your support.

  80. SPC Wickenhauser, Michael says:

    Hey, My name is Michael Wickenhauser and I am a Specialist in the Army recently deployed from MN. My squad and I would appreciate any support we can get. Where we are going our communication will be limited to mail but we will be sure to respond with letters of gratitude. For anyone interested here is my information.

    (Address removed; see comment #270)

    Anything from DVD’s, Games, to Snacks and Books would be greatly appreciated. Thank you very much for your time, MIKE

  81. toby says:

    Hello Tabitha and Michael, thank you for serving our country and I hope your deployments are safe.

    Michael, I have edited your comment a bit to remove information about your unit size and movement dates. Please remember that OPSEC prevents revealing this information publicly.

  82. Malorie says:

    I have friend over in Iraq and I wanted to send him a care package. I’ve gotten a lot of different ideas from this site which is great, but I still have one question. I know this is probably going to sound stupid and people may yell at me for even thinking it, but are we allowed to send like Christian oriented books? Not necessarily the Bible, but like a devotional or something or is that totally off bounds??

  83. M.B. says:

    My brother is leaving for Iraq next week and I wanted to send him some magazines in his care package. I know he reads Maxim and Stuff but I also know they don’t allow pronographic material to be sent to the troops. Technically, they aren’t porn but they do tend to have some pretty risque pictures in them. Any suggestions/comments? Thanks :)

  84. Pam says:

    I am a member of a group called Soldiers Angels, they match up soldiers whos names are given by other soldiers that notice they recieve no mail or packages. It is an awesome thing to do, you ‘adopt’ your soldier for his or her deployment…

    http://www.soldiersangels.o

  85. Ash says:

    Some phone cards dont work over there, how do i find out which phone cards will work and which wont? e-mail me at da_luvbug_01@hotmail.com; subject: TroopInfo.
    thanks for any help!
    Ashley

  86. Christy says:

    First of all, thanks so much for putting this page out there, i’ve been looking all over the net for a good list of things to send to someone in Iraq, so thanks! Anyways.. I have a friend in Iraq who i’m wanting to send a package to.. But what if i send homemade cookies and he doesnt get them for a couple weeks.. are they still going to be good.. maybe i stupid question, but i was just wondering..

  87. Jennifer says:

    When I send cookies/brownies, etc. I Saran Wrap each one indivually, place them in plastic baggies and then seal them up in those disposable Gladware containers. You can use tins too, when I used a tin I also lined the top with foil before I closed the lid to seal in the freshness. I read somewhere that if you put a piece of bread in as well it helps keep them fresh, but I have never done that and my boyfriend says the cookies have been fresh anyway. He’s been lucky enough to get my packages in about 7-10 days so if you think it might be longer you may want to include a piece of bread.

  88. Randy says:

    I just read the comment above about wrong addresses and I was curious how common it is for the original addresses the soldiers are given for family to send letters and packages to to be incorrect. My son just arrived in Irag 3 days ago and I wondered if we should wait to hear from him before mailing anything. Thanks for any info.

  89. sandy says:

    My son left the beginning of Feb. Today is his birthday… what a way to spend it.. He has arrived at his location… Got his address today but he beat me to a letter and package, he sent me one.. He is requesting things such as jerky, newspapers and really that is all so far but it is because they are not settled.. I have gotten so many ideas off of here, thanks and I am sure my son would thank you too if he could.. They are just trying to learn what is normal and not from their surroundings.. I am sure he will ask for more later but there is a great deal they can buy from the PX and he did remind me that his bebit card works there, what they need is to know we are constantly thinking of them enough to send things.. and a piece of HOME… this site prompted me to adopt a soldier and marine ( my nephew is a marine and leaves in March) while I make those care packages I will just make enough for two extras and be honored to do so.. As a military mom I am having a hard time moving on so this has helped and hopefully will fill my time and get me back to my old self..
    I made my sister and I deployment bracelets ( never made a braclet in my life) like the ones on the site, and they were beautiful.. we wear them daily and will till our boys come home… great site

  90. Lydia says:

    I have some boxes I want to mail to a solier in iraq. The only address I found in her email to friends was “FOB Shield, Iraq” … is this the address I write on the box?????? Please advise and thanks!

  91. toby says:

    Hi Lydia, I don’t think just putting the name of their base will get the mail there; you need an address with “APO” in it. You should be able to call the home station of the unit that is deployed and ask them for an APO address for the soldier’s unit.

  92. Shelby says:

    I just found out that by going to the United States Postal Service website (www.usps.com) you can sign up for an account (free to sign up.. doesnt even require credit card info) and order flat rate boxes and envelopes at no charge (you pay when you ship them). The boxes cost $8.10, and the envelopes i believe are $4.05, no matter how much they weigh, so it’s a really good deal if you’re shipping something heavy. No delivery or shipping charge to get the materials delivered to your house either!

  93. Lydia says:

    Thanks, Toby and Shelby, for your quick responses!!! This is a great website! I’m glad I “bumped” into it! The questions people ask are real, and the responses very helpful and informative! I guess I’ll have to do some digging around because I have no idea how to contact the home station of her deployed unit to get an APO address. I’ll try to see if I can figure out how to contact her parents. But thank you for “directing me in the right direction!” And, Shelby, I have SIX of those boxes you mentioned (each weighing a ton!) … ready to go! Thank you both again!

  94. Amy says:

    Hello friends and family-

    In September of 2001, a Marine Corps wife created a program to support the single Marines of the 26th MEU (Marine Expeditionary Unit). What began with a goal to help those service men and women deployed alongside her spouse, blossomed into “The Adopt a Single Marine Program.” Since then over 2,600 single Marines and sailors have been “adopted” due to the support of patriotic Americans, the assistance of many Marine Corps wives, the MCAS New River Single Marine Program, and the founder herself – all keeping the program alive today. The boost in morale and the success of the program has been amazing!

    With this in mind, we want to keep the spirit alive and expand the program for a Marine unit from MCAS New River that has recently deployed overseas. We have received support from the command and the founder herself.

    Traditionally, there are often a few hundred single Marines in these units who do not have spouses sending them supportive cards, letters, care packages, etc. to lift their spirits while far away from home. Given the present status of operational security and world issues, mail-call may be all that some of these individuals have to look forward to some days. In this unit, there are 112 single Marines that are interested in receiving your support, for they have individually signed-up in order to participate in this program. Therefore, we need 112 sponsors!

    If you wish to join this effort, and sponsor (“adopt”) a single Marine for this deployment, PLEASE let us know as soon as possible. This is a commitment to your service member for the duration of the deployment, from the present until they return home to America (we do not have an end date at this time, however, it is anticipated that this deployment may last approximately 6 months). Your only expectation is to support your adopted individual the best that you can, and to do so at least once per month. For instance, you may want to send him/her an introductory card or letter to say “hello” and briefly introduce yourself. The next correspondence may include a care package with some “treats”. Just continue with whatever pace you’re comfortable with; however, it’s very important to send something at least once per month.

    We do not want to let these Marines down. If you are unable to make such a commitment, please do not participate. You may help in other ways by forwarding this e-mail to reliable, potential sponsors – friends, family, church groups, Girl Scout/Boy Scout leaders, teachers with classrooms, Veterans, etc., anyone that you know well, trust, and think might be interested in “adopting” a single Marine or sailor.

    *For the safety and security of our service members aboard these ships and in the field, please DO NOT post any of this information in a public place (i.e., bulletin board, website, newsletter, open internet chat-room, etc.). Doing so will put this entire program in jeopardy of being canceled. E-mail and word of mouth with personal friends and family are the only modes with clearance from the command to publicize this endeavor.*

    If you are interested in adopting a single Marine for this deployment, please reply to Wendy via email at asmp263@comcast.net listing the following information in this requested format:

    your name and your mailing address (on the same line please)

    your email address (on the next line please)

    Once again, we need ALL three pieces of information before we can get started. When we receive your information, we’ll match you on a first-come, first-served basis. Your “Adoption Papers” will then be e-mailed to you, most likely under the subject title of “Your Marine.” It will include your Marine’s name, mailing address, and other information to assist you with your mailings and support. If we have more sponsors than Marines, we will put your name on a waiting list. As a side note, since the Marines are a division of the Navy, and sailors are often attached to Marine units, single sailors are welcome by this program to sign-up for adoption as well.

    You only need to reply if you would like to participate. If you e-mail us and do not receive a response within 1-2 weeks, PLEASE e-mail again and inquire about the status of your “adoption” (this will help avoid emails permanently lost in cyberspace).

  95. Lia Hammond says:

    Someone was selling Girl Scout cookies at work and I thought it would be good idea if I bought a couple of boxes to send to our soldiers. The idea caught on and now I have @ 20 boxes to send. Problem! I don’t know anyone serving or an address to use. I know there is a website called “AnySoldier.com” but as I was looking at other sites one mentioned that AnySoldier had been shut down. Does any one have any idea where I can find an address to send these cookies? I would really appreciate it. Thank you!

  96. toby says:

    Who says that AnySoldier is shut down? It’s still working just fine, you can log on there and ask for the address of a liaison who will distribute your package to other soldiers that don’t get much mail. Seems to work pretty well as far as I can tell.

  97. Lia Hammond says:

    Thanks! Took your advise and found that it is working. Have an address to send the cookies to. Thanks again!

  98. Joan says:

    Like Ashley – I would also like to know which phone cards are the best to send?

    This is a wonderful website with great ideas on what to send to our soldiers overseas – thanks!!

  99. pat says:

    the u.s. post office is offering free packing supplies to families of military personnell….just call 1-800-610-8734, tell them you have loved ones in the military, and would like to order the package…..boxes,tape,shipping labels,etc…good deal!

  100. troop 130 says:

    this is troop 130, we are thinking of sending care packegess, we need a waye to send pre made packegess, do you knoe a way

  101. Lona says:

    A group of us “adopted” a soldier from Soldiers Angels. This is a GREAT way to do it. You get an actual name of a soldier, or if you wish, soldiers, that you can communicate with. They ask for nothing except that you send at least one card or letter a week and one to two care packages a month.

  102. Angela says:

    I read that anything illegal sent to a soldier can be prosecuted. I’m wondering about mixed cd’s. How serious are they about copyright infringement? If you buy songs from ITunes and burn a cd, is that still a copyright problem?

  103. toby says:

    Hi Angela,

    I can assure you that neither you nor your soldier will be prosecuted for sending mixed CDs through the mail. Whatever you read was surely referring to contraband items such as weapons, alcohol, etc., and even in those cases they’ll simply confiscate or destroy the items. I have never heard of anyone being prosecuted for sending items to soldiers, and I saw plenty of stuff get sent that was in that “gray area”.

    And to answer your question, I’m not a lawyer, but if you legally purchased those songs on iTunes then the “fair use” tenet of U.S. copyright law generally allows you to do such things as burn a mix CD for your friends. It’s only when it’s done on a large scale or with the intent to steal from the copyright owner that can get someone into trouble.

    So, by all means, feel free to burn and send your soldier a mix CD.

  104. Bear says:

    Can anyone tell me how i send a package to my soldier who is from the US and is in Iraq, from the UK, I have no idea and so much to send, and….crazy question what is considerd pornographic material? I cant be the only girl who has some photos to jog her fellas memory can i?? Please help Thank you

    P.S love the web site keep up the good work

  105. Keri says:

    A really neat way to send a cake and it stays fresh!! They love this!!!!!!!!!

    Cake in a Jar

    Get wide-mouth canning jars (pint size). You can find them at Walmart, other stores, or online.

    Boil the jars to sterilize.

    1 (18.25 oz.) package cake mix (you can use ANY cake recipe instead of packaged)

    8 jars with lids and rings

    1. Make the cake according to the package instructions or recipe

    2. Grease the jar. Put 1 cup of batter in each jar and keep the rims of the jar clean. (I fill mine up 1/2 way–try one first before you make all of them so you know how far to fill)

    3. Place jars on cookie sheet on rack on the oven (to prevent them from tipping over). Bake for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick comes clean

    4. While baking, boil jar lids in a pan of water ( I do rings too, but I’m anal)

    5. When cake is done, take one jar out at a time and cover with hot lid. Screw on jar ring tightening it slightly.

    6. The lid will seal as it cools. Listen to hear them “ping” as they seal. But if they don’t, wait until completely cool and then press on the top of the lid. If it doesn’t move at all, it’s sealed.

    7. As the cake cools, it will pull away from the jar slightly. That’s ok. It just means that it will slide out of the jar easily.

    8. Unsealed jars should be stored in fridge and eaten within 2 weeks. Sealed jars can also be stored in freezer; however, they should last sealed and unrefrigerated for quite a long time.

    9. DO NOT FROST cake in the jar! Send frosting along.

    10. Make sure you wrap the jars well (bubble wrap’s preferable, but wadded newspaper or clothing and other items will pad it too).

    I’d suggest that you do a trial run of cake in a jars before you decide you’re going to send them. Try ONE jar in the oven before you fill the rest. If you don’t do this, you won’t know how far to fill them and could end up underfilling or overfilling them. If they’re slightly overfilled, mash the lid on top and screw the ring down. It’ll seal and be just fine!

    Don’t forget a plastic knife (or two) for the frosting and some plastic forks.

    You might want to send instructions on how to get them out–unseal, tap gently, pour out. Or the guys can eat them right out of the jar.

    It’s fun to hear–“How did you get the cake in there?” Apparently, there have been many utterances of that statement. One person actually spoke about a group of guys gathered around trying to figure out how she accomplished this minor miracle!

    DBF’s line was “How did you DO that?” He was truly amazed.

    __________________________________

  106. Jo says:

    Hi,
    I am in a simialr situation to Bear (april 2nd,blog 105). I have a friend in Afgha….I got the Apo and the number to send but I have just posted a parcel from the UK using those numbers and I am now wondering if it will get there?
    Please help me as I know he will be disappointed not to receive the parcel. When at the post office they asked me for the British Forces numbers and I couldn’t give them that….

  107. Grace says:

    I just wanted to let everyone know how easy it is to order the Military Care Kits. It includes 2 flat rate boxs, 2 cubed boxs, tape and tags.

    All you have to do is call 1 800 610-8734
    Choose english or spanish options
    then select option 1
    When a live agen comes on the phone tell her you want to order
    Care Kits 04
    She will get your address info and mail them out. She said it takes about 10 days to recieve.

    I hope this helps

    Angels with you all

  108. Nichole says:

    I would love to write to anyone overseas. I am sure they would like something to read also, how do I get names and addresses?

  109. Lilly Beth says:

    Nichole & Others,

    I wanted to do the same thing and found a group called Soldier’s Angels a few months ago. (www.soldiersangels.org) This was started in 2003 by a soldier’s (Brandon Varn) Mom who was concerned about his fellow soldiers not receiving any mail or packages from ‘home’. Her grass roots idea grew into a non-profit, and through my research I found plenty of good press about the organization that reassured me it is legit.

    I requested and was ‘assigned’ a soldier who I’ve had fun sending packages and notes to. For people who wish to help in additional ways, there are other teams you can join such as cards, chaplain support, etc. There is also a weekly newsletter with special support requests for soldiers. Through this newsletter, I have also ‘adopted’ a few other soldiers whose stories touched me.

    I have found this to be an incredibly rewarding experience. They caution you may not hear back from your soldier(s), but I don’t need that acknowledgement to know that I am doing a good thing that really makes a difference to someone!

    While you may disagree with the war and all the politics surrounding it (as I do), I am determined to do my small part in making sure that these dedicated inviduals who are making huge sacrifices for Americans, not experience the disappointing treatment that our Vietnam Vets did.

    Blessings and gratitude for all the other ‘Angels’ on this blog who are supporting soldiers in many different ways. We DO make a difference.

    Lilly Beth

  110. Gloria says:

    My son is being deployed to Iraq in May. I just stumbled upon this site. Wow! I have learned alot about how to ship care packages and items to send. Thank you for a wonderful website. I’m going to order the military kit from the post office so I have care packages ready to go as soon as he gives me his official mailing address. Thank you to all of you who support our soldiers.

  111. bicbil says:

    Fantastic blog, lots of information for anyone with friends or family in Iraq.

  112. Jessica says:

    I personally know 3 soldiers currently stationed in Iraq. One is my best friend of 7 years. He has support from his family but alot of the family members have been too busy to send care packages and letters. He will be there until November of 2007, and this has been the best blog on how to get items from America to Iraq. Him and I correspond over e-mail, but sometimes I feel that e-mail just isnt enough. The 2 soldiers are cousins of mine, who joined together and are overseas together.

  113. cb says:

    I would like to know how a package gets to Iraq. ihave been told that many items have been stolen. The Logistics Civil Augmentation Program are the ones who handle the mail. the nation site says:

    “Under the terms of KBR’s master contract, the Army is specifically tasked with providing force protection for KBR’s thousands of employees. Since 2002 KBR has held what is known as the LOGCAP III contract, which stands for Logistics Civil Augmentation Program. Under that contract it provides support services for the Army ranging from serving meals to delivering fuel, washing laundry and delivering mail, duties that used to be handled by the Army itself.”

    Corp watch says that the Iraqui’s don’t handle the mail. KBR Workers in Iraq Paid 50 cents an Hour.

    I always thought that mail went from us directly to the Military Postal Officials. Is it true that Iraqui’s touch the mail and deliver it?

  114. toby says:

    Hello cb,

    I obviously can’t speak for every piece of mail that goes to Iraq but when I was there, the mail was never touched by anyone except U.S. military personnel. Not even KBR was tasked with handling it. Once it is transferred from the USPS to the military, it is sent via military transportation to the receiving unit.

    Obviously, there will be cases of lost or destroyed mail (such as if a transport truck is hit with a roadside bomb), and no one can say that there aren’t any dishonest soldiers in the system, but it cannot be stolen by Iraqis or KBR personnel as far as I know.

  115. Dear “Friends,”

    We started a new project on April 12, 2007 and that is sending goody boxes to Iraq. We have sent 169 boxes so far to one gentleman who distributes them when the boxes arrive there.

    We would like to send them to individuals also and my question is where do we get recommended soldiers to send them too. See my web site http://www.humanitariansociety.org

    Thank you for your advise and assistance.

    God bless us everyone.

    Dr. Wayne T. Moses, Ph.D., 6811 Villas Drive, Boca Raton, Florida 33433 Telephone: 561/362-8530

    PS: We have been sending them to

    (Address removed; see comment #270)

  116. i am me says:

    For anyone who’s interested in sending stuff to Iraq and need ideas for care package stuffers….this is what my brother asked for today:

    Swiffer pads
    small vaccuum
    q-tips
    breakfast food/breakfast bars
    drink powder packets: crystal light, kool-aid, lemonade
    mosquito net
    canned air

    so beyond the obvious stuff like cookies/cards, they need things to deal with the sand, dirt and bugs.

  117. Mom says:

    I would suggest sending everything in a ziplock bag, that way they would have something to store the item in once it is opened. Helps keep the bugs and sand out of things.

  118. Nancieanne says:

    If you go to my site on my space (www.myspace.com/wvquietangel) and click on my friend- Operation Adopt A Soldier and they will send you a name of a soldier who you can send things to. They also send a list of most requested items. I just started this about a week ago.I have sent two boxes so far- I am sending one a week. But I just found out a mistake that I was making but will not happen in the next book. I found out today not to send food items in the same box as personal items- oops. So next week I will start sending two seperate boxes. I really feel bad about it- but I did not know prior to today.

  119. If you go to (www.myspace.com/malboeufjp), you will meet my husband. He is a soldier currently stationed in Iraq. He has explained they are very short of grooming equipment there
    (i.e. nail clippers, tweeser, small mirror) the other items quoted in previous Blogs are also wanted and are nice:
    Q-tips, powder drinks, dry goods, games, etc.

    They do not waste or turn down anything… Their unit is a focal point and is known for sharing, They can also use battery powered equipment (i.e. alarm clocks, flashlights)…and batteries…He also said biggest item needed past tolietries would be they need Pens, pens, pens… hard to reply with nothing to write with….

    You can reach them at:

    (Address removed; see comment #270)

    ((or))

    (Address removed; see comment #270)

    Both addresses go to the same units…..
    He promises that they will share any items with all units everything is placed in their common area.

    God Bless You

  120. Ashley says:

    My finacee is in Iraq and loves Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. He really wants me to send him bread over there because he can’t buy it in the PX. I was wondering if anyone has done this. I am afraid because of the extreme heat that the bread will sweat and it wont be any good. Does anyone have any advice?

  121. toby says:

    Hi Ashley, I can’t say I’ve ever sent or received PB&J sandwiches while in the desert, but I would recommend you not send “assembled” sandwiches.. instead, send slices of bread and small jars of peanut butter and jelly.

    Package the bread into 2-slice “bundles”, wrapping each bundle with several layers of cling-wrap so he only has to open one bundle at a time. Maybe that will help it keep. If the bread doesn’t work maybe you could substitute graham crackers for him to make sandwiches with. At least those would be much better than the “crackers” (I use that term loosely) that come with MREs!

  122. Ashley says:

    Hehe! I wasn’t going to send them assembled. Thanks for the advice though. Do you think cling wrap or aluminum foil will be better though? Im afraid the plastic might make it sweat.

  123. toby says:

    Well, you never know; while I was deployed I had some very well-meaning friends and relatives who were a bit too optimistic about the condition stuff can arrive in sometimes!

    It sounds like you know what you’re doing, maybe aluminum foil is a better idea…

  124. Kimmy says:

    Hi everyone, just wanted to let you know about soldiersnacks.com. We used them to send a package to my brothers girlfriend in Iraq, and she was so happy with what they sent. She said they even added some extra sunflower seeds and snacks in her package, and added extra stuff for other soldiers. This whole package thing is new to us, and the customs form is such a hassle they do everything and it was just so easy using them I thought that I would let everyone know about it. God Bless.

  125. Rhona says:

    Ashley,
    If your fiance is in a place where he could use one, send him a bread maker and the bread mixes for it. I have read alot about the soldiers making their own bread and it really is a big hit and the bread is as fresh as it is going to get.

  126. elisa says:

    this website is really great! But i wouldnt send bread. Sometimes it takes up to 4 weeks till they get a package. I sent my boyfriend a package and thats almost like 5 weeks ago n he still hasnt go it yet. :( but i will try the cake. I hope it works out!

  127. Jessica says:

    I have found that over the past 4 years and 3 deployments that my food saver has been my best friend. I have wrapped EVERYTHING with that thing and the items get there just like they were baked yesterday (even though some boxes have taken 3 weeks) I started with shoe boxes, paper towels and bubble wrap with the cookies but that was very difficult and sometimes they didn’t get there in very good shape. So now i just put everything in the plastic baggies, seal, and layer in one of those 89 cent plastic shoe boxes from Walmart to give it a little extra protection. I have vacume sealed bread, cookies, candy, etc. You must be careful of the one that crushes everything but a few models have the crush proof option on them.

  128. Ashley says:

    Thank you guys so much! I haven’t sent the bread yet but I think I am going to try the food saver thing. Some of them can be a little costly but over time I think it will pay off. I am not too worried about it because I have been sending packages and it is only taking them about 6-7 days to get there. I guess I will find out though. Jessica how did the bread turn out?

  129. Lisa says:

    Hello: Chuck Pratt is his name, we were married for 10 years and have been divorced almost as long. We have a 11 year old daughter. We currently have a great relationship although it will never be anything more than us raising our daughter. We both are single.
    Chuck is an maintenance officer in the military and this is his second tour in Afghanistan, this time he is gone over 6 months. Last time Chuck barely made it out emotionally and caught a virus that he still suffers from.
    Our 11 year old daughter Rachel is beside herself, she will be going into JR. High this next year and misses her Dad. With hormones pumping through her vain’s, I am missing him also and the security of knowing if things got out of hand he would be here. To top it off and be honest, I don’t support this war and hate it that he has to be there on any level. Financially this has been quite a strain and the extra time to cove especially through the summer I am finding difficult. I am back in school after a becoming disabled from a injury at work. It is hard to pay for something you don’t support and give so much to a cause you don’t believe in, but I do believe in our daughters father and want to support him. I would never blame anyone in this war on any side, I just want them home safe “as they say”.
    I was looking for what to send (package) on line over there, last time he was married and so I guess she took care of all that. He asked me if I could send something and wasn’t sure what to send. I found this and it was very helpful THANK YOU!!!
    IN READING blogs…some were asking for someone to send a care package too but didn’t know anyone. SOOOO, I wanted to pass on Chuck Pratts address if ANYONE was looking for someone to send a package to. He is not a picky eater (he never was ;) and I know he would love anything you willing to send and has a sweet tooth!
    BLESSINGS TO ANYONE INVOLVED on EITHER SIDE, may we all get through this together and have our loved ones to hold when it’s over.

    DIRECT ADDRESS:
    (Address removed; see comment #270)

    MY Email: leebythesea@gmail.com

  130. Lenora says:

    Our son has recently been sent to Tikrit, Iraq. We have a address for Fed EX and went to mail today. Would have cost us 107.00 to mail. Is there another way we can send a package without having to mortgage the house?

  131. toby says:

    Why use FedEx? The Post Office rates are much more reasonable because you’re only paying for the domestic transit and the military takes it from there. With FedEx or other shipping companies, you’re paying for the full trip.

  132. Lenora says:

    Thanks toby. I mailed it at the post office today and was under 12.00. We thought we had to send it Fed Ex.

  133. Hannah-leah says:

    I have a question concerning shipping canned air. I have been asked to mail some canned air to my soldier since everything is so dusty I am wondering if there are any restrictions in mailing. If any one has mailed can you let me know what brand you did send and how did you list it on the form. Thanks so much

  134. ashley says:

    Hey Hannah,
    Just put it in a box with other stuff and then when u list it on the form just list it as a cleaning product. When I send stuff I am dont always list EVERY single thing in there and I never have any problems. The only thing i would check is look on the can to see how it has to be stored, at what temperature. It gets REALLY hot there and sometimes soldiers cant get their mail for days so it has to stay there in the heat. Hope that helps!

  135. Cheri says:

    Lenora-
    I use the Priority Mail boxes. Regardless of weight, they charge $8.10. So of course I make mine as heavy as possible.

  136. Jennifer says:

    The price for the flat rate boxes went up slightly to $8.95 when the postage rates increased!

  137. Lea says:

    My nephew is in Afghanistan and he asked for dried cranberries because some of the guys are getting kidney stones from the water. He also said they like anything Chef-Boy-Ar-Dee. His mother also told me she is on a group e-mail list for his unit and was told they needed metal dental picks for cleaning their guns. The e-mail suggested everyone ask their dentist to save his/her used picks to send. We have a science & surplus store nearby that also sometimes has them at a cheap price. I plan to stop there to see if they have any in stock.

  138. Tabitha says:

    Hi,

    First, I would like to thank you Tobaisly for offering this method for military members and supporters to communicate and connect with one another. This gave me an opportunity to receive such an outpouring of love and encouragement since I’ve been deployed here in Iraq.
    I arrived in Iraq in Jan of this yr and posted a message to your site. This post is post #79 and was submitted on January 18, 2007 at 12:29am. Since then, quite a few individuals and groups have sent letters and/or care packages and recorded this site as their source for finding my information. I want to thank all of those who were involved in that, and tell you that it has made such a positive influence on my stay here.
    I want to inform you that I will be leaving and returning to the States within the next month and a half. Because of this fact, I want to request that you remove my initial post from your site as soon as you can, so those supporters won’t continue to send items that I will not be able to receive.
    Once again thank you Tobiasly and all the supporters out there who understand what we are doing and why we are doing it. I truly and so proud to be an American and would not change that for all of the money and/or status in all of the world.

    Appreciatively and with unending gratitude,

    1stLt Tabitha B. White United States Marine Corps

  139. Hannah-Leah says:

    My boyfriend has asked me to ship him packets of mayonnaise. Has anyway ever shipped anything like this? I am wondering if it will go bad before he get’s it. Thanks for your help. I love this site.

  140. toby says:

    Hello Tabitha, I’m glad that my post has been able to help out. I am no longer in the National Guard but I’m glad that I’m able to still help out you and others in whatever way I can.

    When I first wrote this post in 2003 it was just to answer all my family and friends’ questions about what to send and I never imagined that so many people would see it and respond. I’ve found that there are many people who want to do what they can to help but aren’t quite sure how.

    Thank you for your service and I hope you have a safe trip home. I will edit your original comment to remove your mailing address.

  141. Ashley says:

    Hannah,

    I have sent packets of mayo, mustard and ketchup. They are stayed fresh. You just have to make sure they dont get smashed in the box and get everywhere. I always put mine in a zip loc bag. I would definitely send packets though and not a jar because it will spoil before he could use them all!

  142. MBradley says:

    Does anybody know how to find a mailing address for a specific soldier? I found out that an old friend is in Iraq and would like to send him some things but I’m not sure how to go about it.

  143. BKYM says:

    The youth ministry at my church is doing a food drive for the troops, would you happen to know of a unit that doesn’t get mail or care packages regularly? If so please, email me back. Thank you.

  144. sandy says:

    been a while sinse I last wrote, got a lot of ideas before that and even more now. By this time I have not only my own soldier Zach, who is in Baghdad ( coming home in a few days for his r&R) but my nephew Levi, I adopted anothe soldier Chris who happens to be on the same camp as my son. I also write to a tent mate of Zach’s. His name is Garlic, I am so proud of these men and the rest of them. It is hard not to think of my soldiers all day long, I call them my platoon. I can tell you if they are at a half way decent defac they can get alot of things they might need but most of them have special things they want. I can tell you ALL of my soldiers would rather have a letter from home than a hot meal. Letters mean so much to them and we all need to do this. I have seen people have parites with the price of admission being a letter to a soldier. WHat a great idea, use it if you have a party.
    My soldiers ask for books by authors they like. I send water ballons ( they love them for fun) letters, magazines,letters, candy,letters, dental floss, little fans, water bottle fans,cards, games, chicken viena sausages, letters. While my son is home I will have him go with me to replenish my stock of care package items for my soldiers. I am sure he can help me out there alot… Oh, socks! seems like they need lots of those.
    my son has some pics on his myspace now and I will print some out and some of what is on his camera from there and send pictures of him on thank you notes as he is not ofter able to write anyone. 2 of my soldiers do write me and for that I am so thankful cause I know they need any free time to re-group or to just shut down a bit. Dont be upset of alarmed that you are not getting mail back.
    good luck and remember, write, buy cards and pre address them and put postage on them and toss them at people you work with and ask them to send a note of encouragment to a soldier.
    sandy

  145. Ally says:

    Hi everyone- I just found this website and I can’t thank you all enough for your suggestions. My dear friend has just arrived in Balad, Iraq and I’m assembling a big care package for him. This site helped enormously with all the stuff I wouldn’t have thought of. I wish all of you and your loved ones the best and a safe return home!!

  146. catherine says:

    If anyone would like to send anything to a soldier, my nephew and his army buddies in Iraq would love it. You can send to:

    (Address removed; see comment #270)

    He would gladly distribute to any of his friends that have not received any packages. Thank you.

  147. Kim says:

    My 13-year-old son chose to collect items for a service project and he has received an overwhelming amount of items from friends, neighbors, coworkers and family. We will have MANY cartons to ship. I want to make sure that we send it to soldiers who are still stationed. Sandy, your notes were beautiful and I’ll make sure that there are several letters and cards in the packages. Would someone please list some names and addresses of soldiers? We’d like to send the packages out in about a week or two. Thanks!

  148. Hannah-Leah says:

    My soldier has asked for socks. I am not sure what kind to send. Anyone have any ideas… Thanks so much for your help

  149. Dear Friends: We (The Humanitarian Society, Inc.) started Operation Goody Boxes the middle of March 2007. To date we have sent 291 Goody Boxes and 1061 Phone Cards. I sometimes get a lot of bulk coffees, etc. and would like a place to send them for distribution. They are in packages (about 6 oz each) – any one know where I could send them to a unit, etc. AGAIN, if you have any addresses you would like to send me I will send our Goody Boxes to as many as possible. This is a project The Humanitarians will do until our troops come home and this is my prayer. Our web site, should you like to look us up is
    http://humanitariansociety.org. Brotherly love to all and God bless us everyone. Dr. Wayne T. Moses, PhD, Boca Raton, Florida 33433

  150. Kristen- Military girlfriend says:

    PHONE CARDS! This has been the biggest problem for my fiance so far. He’s deployed, and if he buys a 500 minute phone card, he only ends up using about 15 minutes of it because of the international charges. There has got to be a better way. Are there phonecards that have cheaper international rates than others? Which ones are better than others? Please help!

  151. Julie Ann says:

    If you are looking to adopt a soldier go to http://soldiersangelsnetwork.org or http://www.asoldierswishlist.org

  152. Julie Ann says:

    If you are looking for a specific person to send to (other than the ones already listed on here) please send items to:

    (Address removed; see comment #270)

    or

    (Address removed; see comment #270)

  153. Deb J. says:

    This may seem silly, but can I send sparklers (as in Fourth of July type) to my son at an Army FOB in Iraq via USPS? He was feeling a little bummed out at missing the Fourth and I thought this would be the closest thing to home I could send him. Can he use the sparklers on base or would he get in trouble?

  154. toby says:

    Deb,

    Sparklers are against USPS regulations since they are flammable. However you could probably get away with it if you didn’t label it as such. As far as base regulations, it depends on the regulations at your son’s particular base camp but I doubt he would get in trouble for it. It may be best to ask him first.

  155. jane says:

    hello,

    has anyone used soldiersnacks.com? not to be negative, but just wanting to make sure it is “legit” before i send off a bunch of packages. thanks in advance.

    jane

  156. Luz says:

    Where can I send a list of soldiers names so they could get packages.

  157. Dear Luz: Please send me names of soldiers and I will make sure they get packages, etc. My email is bocahumanitarian@comcast.net. God bless you and thanks for thinking of our soldiers. Look forward to yours (or anyone elses Emai) with names and address. Dr. Wayne T. Moses, Ph.D., Boca Raton, Florida 33433

  158. Luz says:

    Thank you Dr T. Moses, PhD

  159. darlene leonhart says:

    I have heard of neck wraps that when wet will act as an ice pack. Does anyone know how to make them?
    If they have a PX that has Burger king or Starbucks can you send the gift coupons that you buy here in the states?
    Thank you for maintaining this site and as I tell my young friend from Beverly,Ohio that each nite is one step closer to coming home and how proud I am to be his “Unbias Granny”

  160. Katy says:

    There is an organization called Soldiers’ Angels that helps match willing “adopters” with deployed troops who could use a morale boost. There are a lot of different projects, but if you are interested in “adopting” someone to send cards and care packages, or would like to nominate yourself or someone else who is deployed to be “adopted” please visit http://www.soldiersangels.org. It’s a great organization and you can devote as much or as little time as you’ve got. It’s a great morale boost for the guys in uniform, and doing something to give yourself the warm fuzzies ain’t bad either.

    They also have great care package ideas and sell the cooling neck wraps, boots, goggles, etc.

  161. KIM says:

    I DONT KNO IF ANYONE CORRECTED THIS OR NOT… BUT SOLDIERS IN IRAQ & KUWAIT DONT NEED STAMPS THEY GET FREE MAIL FOR LETTERS. AND US POSTAGE STAMPS WOULD NOT WORK THERE EVEN IF THEY DID NEED THEM =0)

  162. Tori says:

    To Jane,
    What a great site this is! We used soldiersnacks.com to send the fathers day snack pack to my uncle, and i completely recommend them to everyone wanting to send something to your soldier. they added extra drink packets and they hand wrote a card with our message to him. I told my boss about them, and we will be sending some gifts to other soldiers through soldiersnacks soon. hope this eases your mind about them.
    Tori

  163. Chuck Pratt says:

    Greetings. I received a care package today from Joan whom resides in Baltimtore MD. She graciously gave without even knowing who i was outside of a blog she read from this site. Personally, i want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart, to both Lisa (my former wife) for posting a note as to my deployment and thanks to Joan for acting upon her compassion,taking action and sending a wonderful package!!. As a Squadron Commander and senior officer, you cant place a value on the smiles, and heartfelt joy of seeing some of your troops who receive a care package or letter here in combat. Amongst the realities of war itself, and specifically in a combat environment, all we have are those nice thoughts from the homefront, that encourage us to continue to serve with all of our hearts and commitment no matter what the political issues are, and serving in a austere and hostile environment. For us, we simply were asked to serve our country and we answered the call, and for you back home to support us, even if you dont agree with the war, but support us soldiers, sailers, airman, and marines, speaks highly of your character, integrity and true compassion for the men and women who bravely and unselfishly serve, and some pay the highest of costs. My family and the families of all those who deploy to combat are truly heroes in their own right, fo rthey offer their loved ones to call of freedom. Thanks again for your thoughtfulness, the letters, the care packages, they are all truly and deeply appreciated :-)

    Major Chuck Pratt
    Afghanistan

  164. Jennifer says:

    I just want to say, I have used this site quite a bit. I began sending care packages and letters to my brother-in-law and his fellow soldiers. I know what I have been able to send has been appreciated. But, this can become a very big task. I involved my department at work and some people donated stuff to send along with money to help in shipping. I also contacted Dr. Wayne Moses from a previous comment on here. He was able to send all 8 of my soldiers calling cards within days. I also got an e-mail from him saying they had sent out 20 boxes to my brother-in-law to give out to his fellow soldiers. I am very gratful that he is able to do this. The soldiers can use all of the support anyone is able to give. Dr. Moses’ charity is http://humanitariansociety.org./. He is really a blessing. Thanks.

  165. Thank you, Jennifer, for those kind words! This is a fantastic site. If anyone has any names and addresses they wish to send me or Email me (bocahumanitarian@comcast.net) I will make sure they get phone cards and boxes. The Humanitarians motto is WE LIGHT UP THEIR LIFE and we want to bring that light to our troops. We all want them to know we remember them with love and prayers. I know we all pray they will all be home soon to their loved ones and families. God bless them and keep them in His care always. “Dr. Wayne” T. Moses, Ph.D., 6811 Villas Drive, Boca Raton, Florida 33433

  166. Dear Major Pratt: Is it ok for us to send you several boxes at a time to you for distribution to the troops? Please let me know and you can Email me with your name and address so I can send them directly to you for distribution. Thanks and God Bless you. Dr. Wayne T. Moses, Ph.D., 6811 Villas Drive, Boca Raton, Florida 33433 (Email: bocahumanitarian @comcast.net)

  167. Tina says:

    Hey, my boyfriend is in Iraq and im not exatcly sure how to send a package. I have a good idea of what i will send him over time because of the suggestions above, but how is the question. Anyone can e-mail me at nalbonecm@yahoo.com and let me know the easiest way to send it. Also if anyone wants someone in Iraq to send something too, you can send it to him…he will greatly appreciate it!

    (Address removed; see comment #270)
    Thank all you guys, this information helped mucho!

  168. Chuck says:

    I’m very pleased to see this thread still active after two plus years. I now have a Nephew in Iraq so I have someone to send items. Before this I contributed to the USO. They have been doing this kind of thing for a long time so I hope they do it well. They have a program for anonymous giving http://www.uso.org/whatwedo/specialprograms/operationusocarepackage/ . I thank you all for the support of “our” boys.

  169. Chuck says:

    It’s real easy to send items to our service members in Iraq. You can get the forms you need, boxes shipping labels and tape for free. Just call the Post office at (800)610-8734 and they will deliver those items to your door. You only pay postage to the military drop point, in the US. The military takes it from there. It’s very hot there now, so no chocolate or anything else that melts at low temperature. The post office has guidelines at http://www.usps.com/supportingourtroops/. My nephew asked for microwave popcorn. So I sent him 36 packages, lol.

  170. Clarence says:

    Sending alcohol is an easy method. I was in Kirkuk for all of last year and here’s how you do it. You want to buy the liquor in plastic bottles and then wrap them up in t-shirts. Use masking tape to wrap them tightly and secure so they don’t shift too much in the box. Those packing peanuts help too! Or the old fashioned way, empty out a giant Listerine bottle and fill it back with bourbon/whiskey so it appears to look like Listerine. Then you superglue/tape the top of it tightly on the bottle and also wrap it with something so it doesn’t shift too much in transit.
    Now the customs form. When filling that out simply write that it is “Muscle Milk” which is a protein supplement that we ordered online from bodybuildingonline.com Just write that on the box so if they get suspicious of the package, they will see what “is in the box.” When sending it via Listerine bottle, write down that there are toiletries in the box (mouthwash, face antiseptic, etc.) And pay the extra dollars for priority. I have yet to have a box get searched or disappear when I paid the extra dollar or 2 for priority. Lastly, wrap the box with a lot of tape. On ALL sides so if anyone wanting to search it, will have a hard time resealing it due to the amount of tape on it. This works, soldiers make good money selling alcohol since it is a hot commodity over there. I mean if you’re old enough to fight for our country I feel you’re old enough to enjoy a drink while doing it!

  171. sarah says:

    My company, NutsOnline.com, has set up an awesome program for helping people send care packages to troops overseas. It’s called NUTS for Our Troops. You can check it out here: http://www.nutsonline.com/gifts/soldiers.html

    These packages are directed especially to those who do not get much mail from home. The gift snacker includes 7 pounds of goodies, including gummy bears, Southern Heat mix, Roasted sunflower seeds, Fresh roasted peanuts, our incredibledried mango, our energy-packed Health Mix, and our protein-and-flavor-rich Power Mix.

    $30 buys all this yumminess plus covers the overseas shipping! We are proud to be one of the only online companies that ships to APO and FPO addresses. Your recipient will get his or her treats in just a few days…amazing, huh?!

    Don’t worry, we are getting these packages directly to posted the troops, so you don’t need to know where to send it. You can write a message to the recipient, and if you’d like, you can include your own email address so that he or she can thank you directly!

  172. sandy says:

    Dr. Moses
    What a kind man you are. God bless YOU… All of our soldiers, mine included appreciate so much the things they get. No matter what it is, I can tell you first hand how much they appreciate just seeing their name on a letter or box. That tells them someone was thinking of THEM…. My son loves letters ( he loves boxes too ) just because someone took the time to write HIS something, a note of encouragement. SOmetimes it gets them thru the day.
    god bless you and people like you Dr Moses.
    sandy
    We love our soldiers.

  173. Karla says:

    My family has adopted a soldier in Iraq and we have been corresponding by email for quite some time. This is his second deployment and he tells us he loves what he does. Over the weekend he told us he and his troops would love to get a care package with things in it for the Iraqi children in the hospital. He said most of them are girls between the ages of 3-10. They are most in need of shoes/sandals and pjs. What a selfless man! We are sending everything he requested and then some. My kids are going to paint their handprints on a pillowcase and that way they’ll be hugging him while he sleeps. God bless our personal soldier and all the troops!

  174. Brian L. Frye says:

    I have encountered something that I need help with. My daughter is currently deployed at an FOB in Iraq. She tried to get a passport over there but she was told that she could only renew an existing one. I have her power of attorney. I went to the P.O. but they told me to call the number on the application. I did that but they will only talk to you if you are leaving for vacation in less than two weeks. My daughter comes home in January for 18 days and I want to take her on a cruise. Can anyone help me here? Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thanks to everyone who has posted here. Your ideas have helped me immensely in sending care packages to my daughter and her buddies. God Bless you all and God Bless America. Hooah!

  175. Gayle Bean says:

    Does anyone know how to can and send lobster meat to a soldier in Iraq?

  176. My Son left Friday for Iraq. He called early Saturday morning and left a voice mail on my cell phone to let us know he had landed in Kuwait… As you can imagine, I was SO upset to have missed his call but now I am carrying my phone with me 24/7.. he says he’ll contact us again when he knows where he’ll be for the most part, but I was wondering if there was a way to find out how to send him a “care package” now? What do I need to know in order to get something to him? Does anyone know if there is a way?

  177. Tina says:

    I sent about 3 care packages about three weeks ago and my soldier still hasn’t recieved anything. Is that normal? I thought it was about a week to two weeks to get packages but he hasn’t recieved anything. (Went to the post office, got the standard boxes, and shipped it) Please tell me if I am doing this wrong or if there is a faster way because I don’t want to send him more if he is not recieving them. Thanks guys!

  178. Lynn says:

    Thank you for this site. I now have a very long list of suggested items so I can send many packages with something new every time. And I love the idea of the flat-rate boxes.

  179. Jennifer says:

    Nicole and Tina,

    I believe you have to wait and get an address before sending a package. It wasn’t until my boyfriend was gone almost a month before I got an address from him. Also—how long the packages depends on where he is. I have heard it can take up to a month depending on where they are. My boyfriend is fortunate enough to get his boxes in a week, but that’s only because he’s in the Green Zone and the mailroom is in the same building as him. Hope this helps!! :)

  180. Tina says:

    Ohh – Yeh that was very helpful, i was getting worried. Ill give it another week or two before I try to track the packages down somehow, haha. He has been there for over a month so I think the address is right, but I will have to ask him when I talk to him next..i didnt even think of the possibility it could change. Thank you!

  181. Vanessa says:

    Thanks for all of your great ideas!! I know my boyfriend loves when I record his favorite shows on DVR and transfer them to a DVD and send them to him in Iraq. He can watch them on a laptop and feel like he’s not missing an entire season of his show!

  182. shelley says:

    Hi everyone,
    I am currently stationed in Germany. My husband has returned from a year in Iraq and now we are getting ready for another deployment. There is a unit here that has deployed over 1/3 of the unit and they are all so young. I know alot of them do not have anyone to write to them. I have one solider who you can contact and he can give you the list of names of a solider you can adopt they are on 15-18 month deployment. Thank you all for your support for our men and women!

    (Address removed; see comment #270)

  183. Holly Hodges says:

    Wow! Just read every entry from top to bottom and have to say a big “thank you” for this site. My 19 yr. old son is leaving for Iraq in 25 days and I’m having a very hard time emotionaly. I have looked around the web for support sites and have not had any luck. How do all of you other mom’s handle your son or daughter’s deployment? Is there a support group out there for us? I figured I’d try that before prozac:) Thanks for all the ideas for care packages, my son is in 101st airborn infantry unit and will be in an area with no electricity or showers or a PX, all of the suggestions on care packages gave me some great ideas. Thank you and God bless you all for your support.

  184. Holly Hodges says:

    oops, forgot to leave email address. hollygirlnc@ayhoo.com
    Any info on support groups will be greatly appreciated.

  185. toby says:

    Holly, the best place to begin looking for a support group is usually with your son’s unit. I don’t know how it is with the regular army but with the National Guard any time a unit deployed the unit’s Family Readiness Group is what helped take care of the soldiers’ families, not only with just providing someone to talk to who is also going through the same thing but also helping spouses who have never had to pay the bills before or take care of the house by themselves and lots of the other small things that people don’t think about until it’s time to be deployed.

    It’s always best to have a support group that’s in your area since each unit may go through different issues that the families can help each other with.

    Good luck,
    toby

  186. sandy says:

    I would like to say that My Soldier ( my son Zach ) who is in downtown baghdad living on a COP which is really a parking lot, send his sister and I a dozen roses. What a kind act for someone to do. Especially someone who is in the midst of a war zone. I cant say that I am shocked at his kindness because that is the kind of man he is. I am honored that he though of us and another friend while under those conditions. Problem is, my flowers came looking less that adaquate. I called right away and was told because of a holiday they would have to get back to me Tuesday the day after Labor day. NO CALL,,,, called FTD which is how our soldiers are sending flowers and told them I still had not heard anything.. FTD also did not return my call. Called FTD again and they tell me the florist thinks they sent out quailty work ( order made on Sunday while closed ) so they are going to do nothing. I asked FTD when a customer complaines about the Florist you choose ( which was not in the same city as I am in ???) what do you do. Was told NOTHING….
    My point in sharing this info with you is this. Tell your soldiers NOT to use FTD if they are thinking of ordering flowers for anyone. Tell them to call a friend and ask the friend to look up a local florist and give them the number so the soldier can avoid the middle man which is FTD and the fee of using them. ALL reputable Florist will be proud and honored to fill the order of a soldier calling them from a war zone and be honored to talk to them. They will fill this order proudly. They will not take advantage of our soldiers such as the florist FTD used on mine who told me and I repeat. We were told not to do anything by FTD and feel like we filled the order properly, I asked them what they do when customers are less than happy with the arrangement. THey said they have never had a complaint. My brother owns a florist in another city far away from here. He stated ALL florist are guilty of this, things happen and it is much cheaper to replace the order that lose a customer.
    My soldier would be so upset if he saw how his request was filled. While he if fighting for us I feel compeled to make sure he is not taken advantage of.
    The Florist in question is in Tampa, Bloomingdays Flower shop, Inc, 813-971-5947.. horrible arrangement and horrible customer service. If you (must) use FTD and are sending to the Tampa area make sure you advise FTD not to use them. Hopefully after my letters go out to the CEO of FTD they will take this florist off their list.
    Just so you know, my son also sent a friend another arrangement, pink roses ( mine were red ) with a teddy bear, they were beautiful and I mean beautiful.. I am so glad part of his money was spent well, after all, I know of no one who works harder for their money than our armed forses.

  187. toby says:

    Sorry your experience with FTD wasn’t very good Sandy… I take it your son isn’t married yet or he would already know the name and number of a good local florist. :) When I was deployed I had roses sent to my wife for our anniversary and they turned out very well, so I agree with your comments that when it comes to flowers you should avoid the national chains if possible and just find a good local shop!

  188. Brian L. Frye says:

    Just an fyi for anyone who may run into the situation I posted above. You can apply for a passport for a deployed soldier. There are certain criteria that must be met:

    The application fee must be included with all hand carred or courier applications for tourists passports.

    Payment for all passport and expedite fees must be a check from the customer or money order.

    The application must be sealed in an official acceptance facility envelope. The envelope’s seal must remain sealed until broken by a Passport Agency Personnel.

    The properly sealed envelope must be delivered to a Passport Agency no later than 5 business days after it’s execution.

    The customer must write a statement of permission authorizing the person hand carrying the application to the passport agency to apply for the passport on their behalf. The authorized person must present valid, acceptable identification.

    I got this information directly from the State Department. The post office wanted to argue at first but when I showed them the e-mail from the State Department they relented. I hope this is helpful. God bless our soldiers and America. Hooah!

  189. Abbie says:

    Toby,
    I just want to thank you for starting this years ago. When I first found this page and noticed the dates I thought for sure there wouldn’t be any recent posts. But, I continued to read for ideas for a friend in Iraq. I was very pleased to see that this is still very much used. This is an amazing site. God bless our troops and families and friends. Thanks again.

  190. Lynnae says:

    wow what a fun site! my firend is in iraq right now- he was deployed in late may. ive sent him letters whith pics inside but never a package. he told me yesturday that he would give anything for some luckey charms, so i guess thats what im going to send.lol. now thanks to some of the other suggestions on here, hes going to get lots of other stuff too! the best advice i have is to just send something. it makes their whole day to hear from home. support the troops!

  191. Erin says:

    Someone please give me some addresses! I want to send several packages, but don’t know who or where to send to :) I can’t believe the sacrifice these soldiers face everyday, and I would like to send something, anything, to take their minds off of the war, even for 1 second! Thanks!

  192. Rebecca says:

    My boyfriend just got sent to Iraq… I’m looking for really fun/sweet things i could send him to keep his spirits up… everyone’s suggestions are really helpful but i want something extra sweet and i’ve been so stressed lately that my mind is not quite thinking creatively at the moment… any suggestions will be greatly appreciated!!!

  193. Rebecca says:

    oh yea…. and i’m about to send some letters and I don’t know if regular postage applies to letters being sent….could someone let me know if its regular postage or if i have to use some kind of speacial postage… never sent a letter to iraq before… thanks in advance for your help!

  194. toby says:

    Rebecca,

    Sending a letter to an APO address uses just regular first-class postage. You’re really just paying for the USPS to deliver the letter to the military, once it’s in the military hands they take care of it from there.

    Same thing for packages, you pay the same rate as if you were mailing it within the States (as far as the post office is concerned, that’s what you’re doing!)

  195. Jennifer says:

    Rebecca,

    I think letters telling him how much you care about him and how much he means to you are the most treasured.

    As far as sweet and different things go—I asked my boyfriend what his favorite candy, toys, and comic book characters were from his childhood. At Christmas time it’s easy to find some of the toys and stuff in the stocking stuffer section at Target. Check out the dollar section for random stuff at target too. You never know what you might find.

    I recently went to eat at Cracker Barrel and picked up some toys that I thought he’d get a kick out of. I sent him a whoopee cushion, a sports trivia game, and that peg game that they keep on the tables. I try to send random things like that. He thought I was a little nuts sending that stuff, but I know it made him smile!

  196. Diane M says:

    Erin, try going to http://www.anysoldier.com — lists lots of soldiers & units that can use care packages, and their addresses

  197. flygirl says:

    Holly,
    Above all, be proud of your courageous son. Let him know he is a Hero to us all. I am a flight attendant who may be on his flight over and am already looking forward to his return flight home. He is with an AWESOME unit, the men and women of 101st are some of my favorite!

  198. Holly Hodges says:

    Flygirl, Thank you so much for your kind words, they help so much. We will be making the 8 hr. trip to Ft. Campbell, KY on the 27th to see him off. They keep changing the date so I am praying that we are not too late. If you see him on your flight give him a hug from me, he is the good looking one with short hair:)

  199. Laurie Davis says:

    Wow! What a great website! Last week I returned from spending 9 days with my soldier/son, at Fort Riley, Kansas. What a beautiful base! It has been years since my husband was in the service. I really miss the comraderie! Branden is attached the Aviation Division of the “Big Red 1”. Seeing my 20 year son off to war was by far the hardest thing I have EVER done! However, I love America, I love our military, and I love my son beyond reason! I am so very proud of the man he has became. Me and the Army did good!

    I am giving you all my son’s address. He will pass on care packages for any of you looking for soldiers to send packages too. There are women in his unit.

    (Address removed; see comment #270)

    Thank you for all the support of our troops! All those who have loved ones deployed, my thoughts and prayers are with them and you. Hang Strong!

    Laurie:) Columbia, IL

  200. Abbie says:

    Here’s a cute idea…. Cake in a jar. I went to Wal Mart and bought canning jars and then cake mix. Prepare cake mix and pour one cup into the jars…should take about 5 jars. Bake at 350 for 20 to 25 minutes. Include in the care package a can of frosting and your soldier can enjoy cake! *Hint, set jars CAREFULLY on racks as you will have a mess if they tip…

    If anyone else has any cute ideas please let me know!
    Thanks

  201. Bianca says:

    My son just called from Baghdad. I sent a care package last Thursday and he received it today (Monday). Among other things that were suggested, thanks to your wonderful blog, I sent him his favorite childhood bed sheet set, his old coffee mug and a bedside rug with his favorite football team (Redskinns). He LOVED it. Receiving something familiar from home is apparently priceless.

  202. toby says:

    Wow, that’s great turnaround time Bianca! My wife also likes the Redskins. Hopefully he doesn’t yet have TV where he is at so he didn’t see yesterday’s game :)

  203. Amber says:

    thank you so much for this site! it has been VERY helpful! i have been searching on the internet for items to send! and i love the cake idea:D my hubbies birthday is coming up:D thanks guys!

  204. ingrid says:

    Wow! I have spent most of today trying to find out what to send to my youngest son in Iraq…. after searching on line I found this site… and I want to thank everyone for their input…he has been there a month now and I am sure he is missing many of his favortite foods. I quess I will have to get used to this and will be a pro at it soon..my 25 yr old is going over in March. I do want to make a comment… I have read every article on the war and the young men and women who have served and the many who died there. They all are in my thoughts and prayers. As a mother I know what fear and worrying is but there is some peace and pride in knowing that my two sons are doing what they believe in. I get a litte upset some days with our country… they go on with their lives like nothing is going on .. don’t they realize we are in a war…there needs to be more time spent on the news regarding our military and what is going on instead of what an athlete is doing or someone in Hollywood! OK.. I have voiced my fustration.. now I feel better!

  205. Jean says:

    Thank you so much to all of the contributors to this site. My daughter’s boyfriend was recently deployed, and I was hoping to find some ideas of what I might send in a care package for him and the other soldiers that he serves with. There are so many good ideas here, I have ideas for many packages that I can send. God bless all of our military personnel and keep them safe!!

  206. Camille says:

    I just happened on this site!
    My daughter is now in Kuwait just waiting to go on to Iraq.
    I have been thinking about sending a box for Halloween……..
    I have thought of Tricks and Treats ( TRIX cereal and rice crispy TREATS) and a mask( the exfoliating peel off kind!)
    Any other ideas?

  207. Camille says:

    OH yes………… would someone direct me to directions for deployment bracelets? I would like to make one for myself and for some other relatives to wear for the next 15 months.

  208. Rhona says:

    Every Halloween for the past 3 years my husband and I send the small Halloween treat bags filled with candy to the group we have adopted. It doesn’t really matter if we know how many soldiers are in the group we just fill the priorty box as full as we can and figure it will get distributed to someone. We have been told by the groups we support that noting goes to waste if they can’t use it they pass it down to others and so on until someone needs it. The candy is usually not chocolate candy though due to the heat. Smarties, Dots, Nerds, Laffy Taffy…
    At Christmas we send the small felt stockings filled with candy. That is when we load them up with chocolate. This year we are also sending in November boxes of Christmas cards so they can mail them home to friends and family. We haven’t come up with anything for Thanksgiving yet. Any ideas on Thanksgiving?

  209. Liz says:

    This is a great site, thank you for all the input. My new son-in-law is in Bagdad and says a lot of his younger guys don’t get much from home so when I send a box I try to pack lots of small share food items. Last box of 6 doz cc cookies I packed two each in the zip lok snack bag to make it easy to share or stuff in your pocket. The flat rate box easily holds 6 doz cookies plus other items. Halloween is a great time to stock up on candy that comes in the mini bags and add a few of each in future boxes. Small bags of chips make good bubble wrap.

    Thanksgiving boxes – turkey and pumpkin cut out cookies, pumpkin bread/muffins, turkey jerky, candy corn/pumpkins (pick them up now in halloween candy section, dried apples with individual carmel dip cups add a bag of chopped nuts to complete the taste of a candy apple.

    Just wander around the grocery store, there are so many pre-packed small items today and sometimes just seeing other items will inspire a homemade treat.

    Thank you to all our troops.

  210. Rebecca says:

    im thinking of sending some homemade brownies to my boyfriend in iraq but with all the regulations i didnt know if there were any restrictions to baked goods… anyone have any answers?

  211. Nikki says:

    Thanks for such a great site. I have two friends whose sons deployed to Iraq on Sept. 24th. I am going to send care packages to both boys and I really wasn’t sure of what to send. This site really helped me in making my decisions. I can’t wait to try the cake in a jar!!! THANKS AGAIN and GOD BLESS OUR TROOPS!!!

  212. Holly Hodges says:

    Tobias,
    I’m hoping you can answer this question for me. Our car insurance company has recently requested my son’s drivers license number for our policy, I have explained (or tried to) that he has been deployed to Iraq and will no longer be driving our vehicle. The VERY unpleasant woman is insisting that I send her proof of his deployment. Other than having my son send her a bag of sand with a little note in it saying “wish you were here” :) I am at a loss as to what to do to verify his deployment. I do have his deployment papers but I refused to fax these papers to her until I found out if that is allowed. I’m hoping you have some advice on this, they are now threatening to cancel our policy if we dont comply.
    Thanks, Holly Hodges

  213. toby says:

    Hi Holly,

    It isn’t uncommon for banks, insurance companies, etc. to request deployment papers to prove that someone has been deployed. Your son’s orders are probably OK to send but I would call his unit’s local support number (such as the readiness NCO) first to see if there is some other set of papers they would prefer you send. You are correct to be cautious about sending the deployment papers if they contain sensitive information such as movement times/locations etc.

    Then, have your son switch his auto insurance to USAA.com. All servicemembers (including reserve component) are eligible and it will probably be cheaper than whoever you’re using now. Since they are run by and for military personnel, they are also much more sympathetic to the needs of service members and their families during a deployment.

  214. kt says:

    When sending a package overseas do you need a special box or can it be in any old plain box? Also, do you just put the address on it and that’s it, or do you need to write what is inside of it??

  215. Holly Hodges says:

    KT
    I’ve found that the best way to send a package is with the FLATE RATE BOX that you can pick up at your post office. No matter what you put in or how much it weights the cost is 8.99 for shipping. If sending overseas you have to fill out a customs form and list what is in the box and what each item weights. You can pick up the customs forms at the same time as the box. If you are planning on sending boxes often you can visit http://www.usps.com and request flat rate boxes that they will deliver right to your house free of charge. These boxes are free until you ship them. The last time I went I just picked up a stack of customs forms that I could fill out before hand.
    Good luck on your shipping!

    Holly

  216. kt says:

    Holly,
    Does it matter what size the box is as long as it’s flat rate?
    Thanks.

  217. Sarah says:

    Could we get another clarification here about

    ANYSOLDIER

    I didn’t have the time to read through all two hundred comments- but I saw some people talking like they knew the score when they obviously DON’T.

    http://WWW.ANYSOLDIER.COM is a fantastic non-profit website that links Supproters with Soldiers deployed. The package you send will be addressed by you to go to a real person of your chosing. You will write Attn:AnySoldier (or Attn: AnyFemaleSoldier) under that Soldier contact’s First and Last name and it is up to them to distribute your support among their crew- they may share the contents, split it up or give the whole box to one person who hasn’t gotten mail recently. This website is PURE GOLD.

    Do not listen to people who act as if ANYSOLDIER.com is something that can’t be done anymore- you CAN find contacts in all branches of the Armed Services to support even if you do not know them personally. The name of the website originates from the heartfelt concept and is totally acceptable by Military and Postal codes!

    It’s my opinion that this support goes even further because it lets them know that their whole country cares about them- not just their friends.

  218. toby says:

    Sarah, I’m not sure which comments you’re referring to which don’t “know the score” but all of the comments regarding AnySoldier.com (including mine) seem to be pretty positive. You may be referring to the comments which describe that addressing a package to just “any soldier”, which was allowed in the past, is no longer allowed by the USPS.

    To clarify… going to the AnySoldier.com website to get a SPECIFIC address of a SPECIFIC servicemember is and always has been fine, but just writing “To: Any Soldier” on the package or letter is NOT allowed any longer.

  219. Rhona says:

    Another worth while website to check out is http://www.operationmailfromhome.50megs.com You can find a wealth of information and it offers alot of contact names submitted by soldiers or their family members for caring Americans to write or send packages to without having to submit personal information to anyone except the soldier they are supporting. My husband and I have been using this website and have had alot of success with it. We send a card at first and introduce ourselves and ask the soldier what they like or need and how many other soldiers they can share with. They have been more than willing to give that information. The soldiers we have been writing have been really good about writing back to say they received the packages and letters.

  220. Holly Hodges says:

    KT
    I have only seen two sizes in the flate rate boxes and neither are very big. This does not mean that they dont have bigger ones since I’ve never inquired about it at the post office. I have not had to ship anyting large that doesn’t fit in the flat rate box yet. The square flat rate box is perfect for sending goody packages but if you have something to ship that’s on the large side I would suggest going to your local post office or checking on line at http://www.usps.com.

    Good luck and God bless our soldiers,

    Holly

  221. Debbie from Ohio says:

    Hi everyone, First I want to say this site is great for all the information given. Next I want to tell all that my nephew just went to Bagdad for the second time and any cards, letters or packages would be greatly apprecated by him and his family and friends. I hope that all our troops, get home safely and soon. If anyone would like his address it is:

    (Address removed; see comment #270)

  222. moonsgirl says:

    Thanks for all the great ideas! My boyfriend is deployed in Iraq and would love anything anyone would like to send. He would share with his fellow soldiers. His address is:

    (Address removed; see comment #270)

    This site is so helpful. Thank you for whoever started it. Also, to anyone who has a deployed soldier, I want to Thank you for supporting your soldier so he or she can serve there country. I pray for all the Soldiers that are deployed and there families. Thanks again!

  223. missingmymarine says:

    This site is great, thank you for all the great tips. My boyfriend is in the USMC and was recently deployed to Iraq, I have been stressing on what I should send him but thanks to all of you I have so many ideas. I think that we need to educate and encourage others to send packages and letters to our soldiers, honestly before I met my boyfriend I never thought about it. Now all I do is inform people on what they can do to help. It’s not that people don’t want to help but some are unsure on what they can do (as I was). Thank you all again and may God bless all of our men and women oversees.

  224. Jeff says:

    I found your website while researching how to send support to the troops. Our congregation at Overbrook Baptist Church in Greenville, SC decided we would write thank-you cards and letters to soldiers in Iraq as a mission project but now I have about 100 cards/letters that I need to send somewhere and no contact person in Iraq to send them to. Most of what I have found doesn’t really suit my needs to get these cards in the hands of service men and women in Iraq. Do you know of a service I could go through that deals specifically with soldiers in Iraq? All the contacts I looked at on AnySoldier.com were in Afganistan and when I tried to email humanitariansociety.org my email bounced back. Does anyone out there know someone serving in Iraq who would be willing to distribute this many thank-you cards?

  225. Mayra Scott says:

    My brother Danny has been in Iraq for almost 4 months, I think his morale is getting low. We are a small family and I’ve asked everyone I can to send mail, even a short note,a card, anything. If you would like to write to a soldier in need of some boosting of the morale. Here is his address:

    (Address removed; see comment #270)

    Thank you in advance.

    Proud Sister of an Airman

  226. Travis Kinch says:

    To Mayra, sister of Danny Perez: I am in an organization in Butler County, OH, which is packing up boxes of edibles in a week to send to soldiers in Iraq. Although our intention was to send them to local soldiers deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan, I will try to get one sent to your brother. Will you please tell me what his hometown is, and from which state?

  227. Ashley says:

    HI EVERYONE! I noticed a few people posting addresses to soldiers they knew who were not getting any mail and had to post. I just joined SOLDIERS ANGELS (sorry using caps so people notice this post) the web address is http://www.soldiersangels.com and you can submit your soldiers information (we only really need his/her address and name, more information is very helpful though) and they have someone one (different people sign up and have to be approved to mail. Its easy, they just have to verify your information) “adopt” the soldier while he/she is deployed. A lot of the adoptees and the adopters stay friends afterwards. Its a really nice non profit program that I think everyone should check out. Anyways, just had to let you all know.

  228. Mayra Scott says:

    To Travis Kinch,

    Danny Perez is from Chicago, IL. Thank you in advance.

    Proud sister of an Airman

  229. Allie says:

    Hello Everyone, I have mailed many packages over the year to soldiers deployed.
    Here are the things the soldiers told me they want. Ear Plugs, Eye Drops, Tums, Cameras, Batteries, Baby Whips, Snacks, Beef/Turky Jerky, dry fruit snacks and lots of books and magazines. They have there x-box 360 and play station so games for that are great too. Also, posting soldiers addresses online is a big NO NO NO. The webmaster here should really remove those posted for security reasons. I hope this helps

  230. Allie says:

    One more thing, if you mail anything with books and magz or DVD’s you can tell the post office its Media Mail and its way way cheaper i am talking about $5 a box instead of $25.

  231. toby says:

    Allie, the notion of posting addresses online being against military regulations is a common misconception but it’s not true. What *is* against OPSEC is posting specific locations in theater, troop sizes, movement dates, information on specific weapons systems, etc.

    For example, saying “my son Joe is serving at Camp Snuffy in northern Baghdad” IS a violation of OPSEC. However, APO addresses are not, and there are many sites which will give out limited APO addresses of specific soldiers for the purposes of sending care packages. One of the most popular of these, AnySoldier.com, is specifically endorsed by the military so I’m pretty sure that giving out addresses on a *limited* basis is OK.

    I do understand your concern and I have indeed removed more specific information which could be considered a security violation but APO addresses do not rise to the level of a security violation.

  232. Allie says:

    Thanks for the update.

  233. Brittany J. Allen says:

    ok so my brother is 18, is married, and has a kid on the way, and on top of that he just left for iraq yesterday….i know itll be hard for him and i want to send him packages and letters to him and his troop, so how do i go about that?

  234. Allie says:

    Hi Brittany,
    You need to get his address at his final destination which i am sure he won’t have for a short while.
    I started writing as soon as i found out my love is being deployed and it really helps me keep it together maybe you should try and do that. You can also than mail it to them so they feel like they are involved in your life although they are not there. What does he read? what kinds of foods does he like? You should make a list of all the things he likes and start mailing them. I sent out Comic books, mini models of cars he likes and things that will keep him busy. Don’t forget to mail lots of pictures of the kid and the family.

  235. april says:

    i have 2 best friends, a boyfriend, 2 other friends, and a cousin in ramadi currently. i consider myself to be in the pro stage of package sending. everything everyone listed is a great idea – especially the sanitary things like hand wipes. baby powder is also a plus. also someone had mentioned to send things in bulk – definately definately do this!!! many of our soldiers joined the military because they dont have family or friends; so always send things that your soldier can share with others. one of the biggest things for the boys is dip/chewing tobacco and cigarettes. even if your soldier didnt smoke or dip at home, he may over there because of the situation. and even if he would never, i still recommend sending those things because i can guarantee the majority of his platoon will be very thankful.

    one last piece of advice for all – send christmas packages early! it can take up to 3 weeks for a package to get over there if flights are slow or unavailable – the holidays slow down things even more. i am sending all of my christmas packages by thanksgiving this year. you can always put a note on the package to not open until christmas (chances are they will be so excited they wont wait), but it is much better to be earlier than later during the holidays because they are the hardest times to get through. and not to repeat myself again but christmas packages are especially important to send in bulk – no soldier should go with out something for christmas if the reason they are over there is for us! if u cant think of anything unique to send for christmas, send the regular things but just put them in a stocking

  236. toby says:

    Thanks for the input April. I can attest to the camaraderie building power of tobacco. :) I never dipped or smoked before I was deployed but when I was in Iraq I started smoking cigars. It was nice to be able to just unwind and sit with the guys and smoke at the end of the day.

    Now that I’m back stateside I hardly ever have a cigar anymore but even if it’s something you’d never think someone would try, being that far from home makes people do things they ordinarily wouldn’t and there’s just something about being able to have that quick smoke that is hard to describe.

  237. Elizabeth says:

    Our son is a Marine on his first deployment in Iraq and we have sent him many boxes since he left in September. We just just received a letter from him in which he asked us to send a number of things, most of which were health supplements, but he also asked us to send him a pack of lighters and cigarettes. Are we allowed to send lighters? I would think not because they are flammable. Any suggestions on what to send instead?

  238. Jane says:

    I am from an anti-war activist family but grew up next to Parris Island, SC (which is also near 3 other bases, or was when I was a child) & both my father & stepfather are vets of Korea & Vietnam respectively. I have always tried to impart to my children the importance of soldiers to our country & the world & how important it is for us to try to maintain peace to keep our precious soldiers out of harm’s way. This Veteran’s Day our family is putting together care packages to send to soldiers in Iraq & Afganistan & this site has been SO helpful & has brought me to tears! To all of the military families who read this, thank you so much for your sacrifice in our name & protection. We love you! If anyone reading this knows a soldier who doesn’t receive much mail we’d love to send them something. Thank you Tobias!

  239. Holly Hodges says:

    When I went to the post office on Saturday to mail my sons care package the woman behind the counter looked up my sons APO address and informed me that Christmas packages had to be sent by Dec. 4th to arrive in time for the holidays. Next time your at the post office ask them to look up your loved ones APO for the deadline for Christmas.

  240. Nikki says:

    I never thought about sending my military man sheets and a blanket ive been thinking about a christmas present cause thats coming up really soon and I think that might be a Good Idea…. especially if i drench it in my perfume might make it even better! The cakes seem like a great idea… This will be my first time sending anything to anyone in the military… I emailed his mom asking her for his address so it will be a complete and total suprise for him!

  241. Denise says:

    if you are looking for a soldier to adopt you can go to kbnj.org (or) if you have a family member that is deployed over seas that needs encouragement you can also sign them up to be adopted by a KBNJ listener.i have adopted two soldiers myself it is great…….this is a christian radio station 91.7FM .

  242. Denise says:

    also when you go there, it has a list of soldiers to adopt, if they are all adopted click on one anyway to adopt fill out the information and you will recieve a email from the staff of a soldier you can adopt with a little info about the soldier and his address.it is real simple and the get back to you like same day…

  243. Kat Roberts says:

    Just got a mailing from my typing pal in afgan and he requested calanders, something i would never have thought of. also sox in the past and tell #138 you can now get cranberry tablets (Sam’s Club) to help with the stone problem. Also cute puppies Toby, I’m an avid dog lover too. even tried to get on the adopt a soliders dog list but couldn’t find one.

  244. Heidi says:

    TO Myra sister of Danny Perez I am getting together friends and my mothers tennis team to send care packages out for Christmas to your brother. I have also asked everyone I know to send him letters and cards. Hope this helps. Our prayers are with your brother and your family.

  245. Karen says:

    Question: I want to send some socks to my new nephew-in-law. I found some over-the-calf motorcycle socks made to keep the lower leg warm. Would these be OK?
    I am making up a couple of care packages & would like to add the socks. Does anyone have any thoughts about this type of sock?
    Thank you & God Bless Our Troups!
    Karen

  246. Holly Hodges says:

    I had a family member send some to my son who is army infantry stationed in Iraq right now. He informed me that they have to wear the army issue socks that are green. Don’t know if its like that for all service members or just the army. When I order him something like that I get it from http://www.rangerjoes.com the prices are great and they will ship to APO addresses.

  247. Brian L. Frye says:

    Hello to everyone & Happy Holidays,
    I, like many others here, have become a virtual “expert” on mailing care packages to my daughter in Iraq. I cannot say “thank you” enough to the people here who have given me some great ideas of things to send to my daughter’s unit. The 10 flat rate boxes full of Halloween candy went over really well. Now my question. Does anyone have experiences in sending packages other than care packages? My daughter is asking for a bike and I am working on the logistics of the possibility of this. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thanks to all and God bless our troops.

  248. Holly Hodges says:

    Brian, are you shipping a bike that she has already or are you buying a new one? If shipping a bike that she had at home the best thing to do is go to your local bike shop and ask them for a box that is about the same size as her bike. You might even talk them into breaking down the bike and packaging it for you. If you are doing it yourself you have to remove the handle bars, the seat, and the peddles to fit it in the box properly. If your shipping a new one dont even take it out of the box, just ship it like it is and send her the tools to put it together herself, dont forget the tire pump to go with it. I have shipped bikes in the past but not to an APO address. The bike I shipped from Michigan to Arizona cost aprox. $70.00 so I’m not sure what it would cost to the APO address. Hope this helps you.

    Holly

  249. PATeach says:

    I have recently met a soldier in Iraq and offered to send a care package. When asked what to send, he just keeps telling me to send “whatever I want minus alcohol and adult material.” His b-day and X-mas are close and I want to make it special. Any suggestion to personalize it more. I have included some of the basic toiletry items suggested, but I want to also include an inexpensive gift that will surpirse him and make him happy for these two special days.

  250. wendie says:

    I found this site while looking up care packages! My little girl does Daisy’s and our troop sent out 4 care packages to 4 of the soldiers on this list! Daniel Zachary,JP Molbouet,Joseph Winsor, and Daniel Perez I just wanted to make a note not for the praise but the girls which are 4-6 years old really took this to heart and i think truly learned about helping the soldiers they really got into wanting to pick what went into the boxes. Thanks for the site it has helped me teach my little girl and my Daisy troop a life lesson!

  251. Holly Hodges says:

    I have found that sending my soldier local products only found in his home state, since he’s from Michigan we send Vernor’s soda and Better Made potato chips and base ball hats from U of M college football team and etc. He gets such a kick out of these types of things and makes him feel closer to home.

    God Bless our Troops

  252. Heather says:

    My friend and I have gotten a local elementary school class room to help us send a few care packages for the holiday.

    Does anyone know of a few soldiers who dont get mail or packages very often? Maybe 2 or 3 to begin with.

    Please send me the names and addresses at iowasweetie101@aol.com.

    thanks so much!

  253. Rhiannon says:

    I am so glad I found this site! I was wondering if Maxim magazine is considered “taboo.” You mentioned in an earlier post that there are restrictions on “taboo” items, and I don’t want to get anyone in trouble. Also, could anyone tell me what the “one thing” is that I should send if he could only have ONE thing?

    Thanks!

  254. Rhona says:

    Address removed; see comment #270

  255. Elizabeth says:

    To #254 – You can send Maxim with no problem. My son wanted that and it was sent with no problems that we heard about. As for folks that want to get the word out about guys or gals that need help; tell everyone you know b/c you never know who will act on it. We told our dentist about our Marine son’s birthday which was in early December and about his platoon not getting enough food. He put a notice up on his “check-out” desk and one of his patients was a teacher who had her entire class send my son birthday cards which he though was really neat. Some of his patients are sending care packages with food and baked goods. I told people I work with about the situation and they in turn tell others and now my son’s platoon is getting food and cards from all sorts of sources. It doesn’t matter that they do not know the people sending them things…what matters is that they are not forgotten and they know we care about them. Nothing that is sent goes to waste…they eat everything and appreciate whatever is sent.

  256. Patty says:

    i happened upon this site while browsing for help in shipping packages to my son in Iraq. my grandsons’ 4-H group wanted to do something for uncle jason and decided to bake cookies. God bless their little hearts! they wanted to include all from jasons’ base at Fort Carson..400 soldiers! we baked and baked and baked.
    now, the hard part..the cost of shipping..any ideas? i know about the flat rate boxes..but we are talking over 200 dozen cookies. does anyone know of an organization that might assist with shipping costs?
    p.s. this is uncle jasons’ 3rd tour in iraq..and little isaac wants to vote him hero, ’cause “he’s saving the world”
    God Bless and God Speed to all our soldiers
    my soldier, my son, my hero

  257. yagottaloveaMarine says:

    Here is the best place I have found for calling cards, the minutes are converted to units so you get more talk time. They will ship direct to APO’s
    https://thor.aafes.com/scs/default.aspx 550 is the best deal.

    A very nice care package item…Thorlos combat boot socks. Can’t go wrong w/them, excellent socks. 888-846-7567. They will ship to APO’s and the company is wonderful. Black for Marines, Brown for Army.

    Fun item to send that is always a hit….fart machines. The boys enjoy them!
    I get mine from http://www.zymetrical.com, another great company. Remember to send extra batteries!

    Duct tape, clothespins, clothesline is often helpful for those in remote areas. Small boxes of laundry soap from the laundermat come in handy as well. Febreeze is always wanted.

    Hot hand and foot warmer packs for winter patrols are good. You can find them in hunting dept’s and sporting good stores…K-Mart/Wal-Mart has them.

    Mach 3 razors and refills, jerky, new release DVD’s is what I am asked for the most. Tuna in the vacuum bags and cups are in high demand.

    Mostly think small, they don’t have much room in hooches to store large bulk items. Think camping, emergency situations like hurricanes….instant, light weight, easy to open, pop top cans. It’s good to throw a dollar store can opener in the boxes once in a while. Gladware bowls come in handy to heat microwave items and store food from rodents getting into it. It’s nice to put plastic spoons in with fruit and pudding cups.

    Clorox wipes are good to have on hand. I do not send toiletries or baby wipes unless asked for other than the Mach 3’s. Shaving cream in the tubes is better, cost more but worth the extra cash. Shower gel in smaller sizes is better than bars of soap. Lufas and nylon shower scrunchies are good to send as well. They help get the grit off better.

    Whoever wrote that steady mail is better than regular mail is correct. Care packages don’t always have to be a big production. Flat rate envelopes are free and cost $4.60. You can send a magazine, bag of jerky, some gum and a few other small items in these and it makes for a nice cheery smile that is inexpensive. Fair warning the PO frowns on these envelopes being packed too much, so make sure you don’t go overboard, keep it flat. A funny card w/a bag of pop rocks or gum is good or include a newspaper article of interest. Newspapers from home are always good to include in the care packages.

    Hot sauce in plastic bottles, seasoning/spices are good too. Please if you accept donations make sure everything you get is new, in it’s original package and has a good expiration date. I have had people go through their cabinets and bring me all their expired stuff…or donate leftover Halloween candy for a Christmas drive. Not acceptable.

    Some FOB’s have microwaves, refrigerators but with the surge many don’t have those things, so until you get to know your Soldier don’t assume they have a microwave for popcorn. It’s best to send the basics that can be used, carried anywhere by anyone.

    I have several doctor/dentist offices that save their office magazines for me. When they have a stack they give me a call and I go pick them up. I use the “shirtbox” flat rate to send these. I only send ones that are in good shape. Magazines are very popular and appreciated.

    Coffee is huge, again, if you don’t know their living environment send instant w/cream and sugar packets, but most major bases/fobs have coffee pots.

    Copenhagen, cigars, cigarettes are appreciated. I find Marlboro lights seems to be the most popular.

    If you send crackers, Oreos etc, make sure you pack them well in bubble wrap or use plastic grocery bags balled up to protect them, they will be crumbs by the time they get to Iraq if you don’t protect them. You can sandwich them in between socks and underwear, towels etc. Bagged chips are not good to send unless you pack them extremely well. Canned chips are best and even w/those it’s good to pack them well. Do not leave empty space in your boxes, if you do not have enough product to fill the box tightly so nothing jostles, use the grocery bags or stuff w/newspaper to keep things tight. Anything liquid, pudding cups, applesauce etc. should be put in ziplocs.

    Freshly laundered pillow cases w/new pillows are nice. Wash them, put them in a ziploc w/a dryer sheet so they smell like home. Dark twin sheets, towels are always needed. The sand and grit breaks down the fabric in socks, sheets, towels, it eats up just about everything.

    MP3 players are huge. CD’s get scratched, CD cases are good to include in the boxes. MP3 players are expensive, but send one instead of doing multiple boxes, you will end up spending about the same. For me I focus on quality and not quantity. Depending on resources it’s better to send one good thing like Mach 3’s which last and are so much nicer than cheap disposable razors. Americans have the more is better mentality and many Soldiers have said they would rather have Mach 3’s than a box of food. The desert air is brutal on their skin. Another good thing to send good quality lotions in small tubes or 6, 8 oz bottles. Greasy or water based lotions attract the grit.

    Just remember that if you don’t have lots of money for care packages a picture post card or friendly hello letter goes a long way. Tell them about a cook-out, a movie you saw, your kids, your job….anything normal. Even if it seems mundane to you it will be a treasure to them. And please do not start your letter with “I am against the war, but support the Troops” UGH! That sentence is not music to a Soldier’s ears. If you support them then you want them to have success whether you hate the war or not. Soldiers and Marines are trained to win and succeed. Remember they are living the war and politics is not something they want to read about…not opinion, politics, rhetoric etc. They also enjoy seeing photos, a picture of your dog, cat, horse can bring a smile and touch of home. That is what it is all about…HOME. Whatever is sent will be used or shared, passed along.

    Supporting our Troops is the most rewarding thing I will ever do. These men and women are truly America’s best. It is a joy to be part of the process and to be a Patriot. God Bless them one and all.

  258. Holly Hodges says:

    My son is getting so many packages that he says he could build a bunker with all the boxes. It’s obvious that he is well loved. The only thing he has asked for is soccer balls to give to the children (boys) and beenie babies for the girls. My husband sent out an email to all of his co-workers asking them to donate a soccer ball. We have gotten such a great response and have quit a few to ship. I plan on deflating them and including a ball pump so we can fit more in a package. I have also bought a bulk supply of beenie babies on ebay to include for the little girls.

    God bless him and all of the soldiers.

  259. Skip Spoerke says:

    This is my first time stopping by Toby’s blog, and things seem to be running pretty smooth. Impressive work Toby.

    I was deployed to Iraq from 2004 – 2006 and am the Vice President of an organization that ships care packages to the troops, so maybe I can provide some good ideas of what to send the troops, where to find names of troops, and other ways to help show your support.

    First, where to find military members to ship care packages to:
    The best place to look for an organization that can and will provide you with that information is http://www.americasupportsyou.mil

    Click on the “Homefront Groups” link and then “Send Care Packages”. A list of 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations will be displayed. Not all of these organizations release the service member information, but some do. If you really want to pack and ship the care package yourself, you need to find one of the few that will give you that information. anysoldier.com is one of them. If you decide to ship your own care package don’t forget to have a completed customs sheet when you bring it to the counter at the Post Office.

    All of the organizations you see listed are legit. America Supports You is a Department of Defense sponsored organization that helps US military members and supporters find the legit organizations. Trust me, there’s no slipping through the cracks.

    Many of the organizations are extremely protective of OPSEC and will not release the names and addresses of service members, but several offer “Care Package Sponsorhip” programs. These programs usually offer a way for a supporter to make a financial donation to sponsor a care package. Special Kindness In Packages, the organization I’m Vice President of, has a “Care Package Sponsorship” program.

    What we do is add your contact information to what we call a “Sponsorship Certificate” and place it in a care package. That tells the recipient who sponsored their package and how to contact you if they choose to. We can’t guarantee a response, but we do encourage the service member to at least let you know they received the care package. If the service member does respond it’s up to you and the service member to discuss the idea of you shipping more care packages to him/her if you’d like. The service member does not get removed from our list until he/she returns home.

    We have found that many military members appreciate this method moreso than if we just gave their address out at random. Remember, I was there… what we take for granted here, like handing out business cards with an office address on them, could be life threatening over there.

    The donation cost for sponsoring a care package can vary among the organizations. Our sponsorship program is $25 per care package. What that covers are the cost of Priority shipping (approx $10) and a few of the items in the package. Each care package we send out easily contains $30 worth of stuff in it, but we get a lot donated so really you’re saving money by sponsoring the care package instead of mailing it yourself.

    Anyway, check out our website for more information on sponsoring a care package: http://www.specialkindness.org/donate.html

    ——————————————–

    What to ship:
    This has got to be the million dollar question. I probably get asked this two-three times during a slow week… ten-twenty times per day during a fundraiser. And really, it’s quite simple to answer. What made you happy when you were 8 years old? Send that.

    Seriously, send them water pistols, gum, yo-yos, hand held games, travel games, Uno, candy, beef jerky, SkipBo, Koolaid mix, coloring books, pin the tail on the donkey, it’s all good! Additionally, always try to include the necessities such as toothpaste, bar soap, floss, lotion, Q-tips… you know, things that you use daily (or should anyway).

    For a decent sized list of ideas of what to send and a list of what not to send please visit http://www.specialkindness.org/donations.html

    ————————————————–

    Other ways to show your support:
    Remember all of those nonprofit organizations you saw listed on AmericaSupportsYou.mil who are dedicated to supporting the troops? Support as many of them as you can. Many of these organizations, including Special Kindness In Packages, are all-volunteer organizations – meaning, we’re not getting paid to work extremely hard to raise enough funds to ship hundreds or thousands of care packages every month. We need your help!

    Special Kindness In Packages spent more than $24,000 this year on shipping costs alone. There aren’t any grants for this type of organization, so we rely solely on people like you to help fund these care packages. But, we love what we do, so we keep on doing it even when the budget really doesn’t allow. We just dig into our own pockets and hope we have enough to cover this month’s shipment. Of the $24,000 we spent this year, more than $6,000 of that was donated by members of our board.

    We’re starting next year supporting 399 military members and no money to do it. We just drained our account today (and then some) shipping the final batch for 2007. So, please find it in your heart to donate to organizations like Special Kindness In Packages so that we can continue supporting the troops.

    Thank you for reading this lengthy post. And more importantly, thank you for supporting America’s Heroes!

  260. Bran says:

    I bought a Marine Ka-bar knife for my cousin as a gift. I had planned on giving it to him before his second deployment, but I received the knife in the mail the day after he shipped.

    I have searched the restrictions, and I can not find anywhere that says shipping a knife (which is of course in it’s sheath, and origional box) is restricted.

    I would like to confirm this, because I had a clerk at the post office tell me I couldn’t ship the knife. I am obviously going to try again at another post office, but if anyone could offer me any advice as to how I may be able to get this gift to my cousin would be greatly appreciated.

  261. Kirsten says:

    Hi, I just called the 1-800-610-8734 to get boxes to send over to my brother but the number directed me to an SMS message that would charge me $10. Does anyone know the correct 800# to call to get the free packing materials? I had it before and must have lost it.

    Thanks in Advance!
    Kirsten (A Brother in Scania)

  262. Debbie says:

    Bran, I work for the post office and I see no reason that you can’t mail that knife. UNLESS it’s prohibited to that certain APO zip code. (We have a book that we look things like that up in.) Each post office has a domestic mail manual (DMM) that lists prohibited and restricted items. The only knife I am aware of that cannot be mailed is a switchblade. Tell the clerk to check the DMM443, which states “all sharp-pointed or sharp-edged instruments such as knives, tools, ice picks, razor blades, etc., must be securely packaged in a strong container as required in DMM 601.1-601.8. Sufficient cushioning material must be used to protect the sharp points and edges from cutting through the outer packaging during normal Postal Service handling.” The only thing that could be different is the listing of restrictions to APO addresses. Usually, that depends on the restrictions to the country it’s going to. Iraq’s restrciton is a blade can’t be mailed that’s over 3″ long. Hope this helps and good luck

  263. Debbie says:

    Kirsten, that is the 800# that is listed on the website for the free supplies. I just called it and had no trouble. Make sure you choose option 1 for the “Express Mail service, Priority Mail or Global Express Guaranteed”and request the CAREKIT04.
    Try it again and if you get anything like that again, I would call the USPS general number (1-800-275-8777) and report it. You can also get any of those free supplies, except the cube boxes, at any post office.

  264. Mayra Scott says:

    To all of my new friends on this blog, Thank you for all and I mean all of your postings. They were all very helpful in these trying times. My brother Danny is now en-route back home. Thank you all for helping our family support him while he was deployed. Thank you for your cards, goodies, prayers, etc. I could not have done it alone. I will now continue to send goodies but to other soldiers whose names I received from this blog. Thank you all again from the bottom of our hearts!

    A proud sister of an Airman!

  265. Kirsten says:

    Debbie,
    Thanks, I tried again (this time from landline not cell) and it worked fine for me. I tried again from my cell and got that same weird message. Thank you for taking the time to respond to me, I really appreciate it!
    Regards,
    Kirsten

  266. Barbara says:

    Just found this blog and the information is fantastic and greatly appreciated. My son is in Iraq working a civilian job, but this information applies to him also.

    Went to a meeting at the post office before Christmas and was advised the post office is coming out with a new flat rate box in February that is larger than the other two. Cost will probably be around $10-$11.

    My son has asked me to send him a peanut butter pie!! Any suggestions? It has dairy products in it. I don’t think it will make it over there without spoiling. It usually takes 6-7 days for him to receive a package that I send priority mail.

  267. yagottaloveaMarine says:

    I would send buckeyes, they keep well and make the trip just fine.

  268. LCpl William Washington's sister says:

    This email is sent at the request of a young Marine. My brother has been receiving mail from people he does not know. Last month he told our mother that these letters were disturbing him. I don’t know where the information came from or who told this lie about our family but I will set the record straight! THE FAMILY OF THE LCPL WILLIAM WASHINGTON ON YOUR WEB SITE HAS NOT DISOWNED HIM!!! We love and support him in everything that he does. NOW if there IS a different LCpl William Washington out there that has been disowned, then you need to find the correct address! I appreciate the intention behind the letters but since these letters disturb him then they need to stop now. I do not appreciate our family being portrayed as anything but what we are, which is 200% behind OUR MARINE.
    A few months ago, this same information was said on a San Francisco radio station. I have already contacted them and they removed his address from their web site. On top of everything, my brother (currently in Iraq) heard the false information about his family from someone else. If this had been any other young Marine away from his family, he might have believed it. Think about how that would affect his mentality! What reason would he have to come home!?

    Please print a retraction about our family and take my little brother’s address off your web site. Thank you for your time.

    The sister of LCpl William Washington

  269. toby says:

    I’m very sorry that your brother’s name was used incorrectly and that it has caused any pain for him or your family. I often don’t read the entire contents of comments posted but effective immediately I will be removing any mailing addresses of specific soldiers from any comments.

    From this point forward, if anyone would like to post a personal address of a soldier, please do so via AnySoldier.com and not this website. I simply don’t have the ability to monitor all such posts to this blog and while I’m sure most people who do so have the best intentions, I don’t want to risk having another issue such as this.

    Again:

    • No personal overseas soldier addresses (APO, FPO, etc.)
    • Stateside addresses are OK (i.e. if you are an organization that distributes care packages and want to post about it)
    • If you know of a specific servicemember who wants mail, send his or her information and address to AnySoldier.com, then you can post a link to their AnySoldier profile on this blog.

    Thanks,
    Toby

  270. Holly Hodges says:

    I just wanted to let everyone know that my soldier/son came home on leave from Iraq. His leave consisted of 18 days, and what a nice 18 days it was!!!! He said that so far his deployment has been a possitive experience. Other than being about 10 pounds lighter (which he couldn’t spare) he looks damn good. Now lets pray that the next 11 months fly by.

    God Bless our soldiers and GO RAKKASAN’S!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  271. JT Stryker says:

    Toby, great site! Used it find out the best way and what to send a friend of mine who’s in Iraq. I just hope she gets it by Valentine’s Day!

    My take away’s from first package sent. 1.Use USPS flat rate shipping box. Amazing that you can send a box half way around the world for under $10. 2.Do not mix foodstuffs with toiletries, leaves too much to chance. 3.Sending “Nutritious” food, they get tons of junk food, energy bars, dried fruit, beef jerky, etc. to keep carbs and protein high.

    Finally, any suggestions for shippable “nutritious” or “healthy” alternative without nuts or traces of nuts? I’ve racked my brain and could use new ideas. Thanks!

  272. Dear Friends: We started sending packages to Iraq, etc. in April 2007 and as of last week we have sent 867 goody boxes, 1132 phone cards, over 2000 card and letters and live Christmas trees to the troops. I am president/founder of the Humanitarian Society – a non profit organization with no salaries or administrative costs. We are located in Boca Raton, Florida. Each box we ship is estimated to be $50.00 per box including the flat rate. My co-founder, Louis J. Labadini and myself handle everything. Members of our organiztion and concerned friends and neighbors make this all possible through donations and supplies for the goody boxes. We have received nice notes and emails from the troops making everything all worth while – just knowing they are protecting us and our country. This Humanitarian Society project will cotninue as the old song goes UNTIL THEY COME MARCHING HOME AGAIN. If anyone knows the address of any soldier in Iraq or Afghanistan you can Email me at bocahumanitarain@comcast.net and you can rest assure they will get packages. God bless us everyone as Tiny Tim once said and now I echo his sentinments and always with brotherl love to everyone. We must never forget to support our troops in everyway – they are a very special family to all of us. Look forward to hearing from you. Our WEB SITE is http://www.humanitariansociety.org – “Dr. Wayne” T. Moses, President/Founder, The Humanitarian Society, Inc.

  273. yagottaloveaMarine says:

    Fruit cups or small canned fruits w/pop top lids, they need to be put in ziplocs and remember to include a spoon.

    tuna bags and the tuna cups are healthy.

    good multi-vitamin helps

    oatmeal packets

  274. ArmyFiancee says:

    I love this website, it has helped me so much! I spent the ENTIRE day today researching what I need to know before my fiance gets deployed in 2 months. I got so many great ideas on what to send, what to be aware of, what to find out about his base situation over there… Some of the things I would never even think of.
    I was thinking about getting a magazine subscription to him. Does anyone know about a website that will send to an APO address?

    Thanks a lot and your comments have been very helpful to me!

  275. NurserySchoolMom says:

    I have a question. I was recently contacted by a friend that was just deployed to Iraq for the first time. He asked that we send him some things for him to give to the Iraqi children from our nursery school. We thought it was a great idea and now the whole school is involved. We will probably have over 20 boxes to ship. does anyone know the best way to ship them? Is USPS program really the best or can I drop all these boxes off to a site? Does anyone have any ideas? I would really appreciate it.

  276. toby says:

    NurserySchoolMom,

    USPS is really the only way to send the packages. I’m not sure whether there are any services which could handle the logistics and paperwork for you. I would recommend that you call your local post office and describe to them what you want to do and ask the best way to expedite the process. Hopefully you will not need to fill out 20 different customs forms!

  277. Kim Dunn says:

    I have a daughter in Iraq and a wonderful set of ladies who work at my post office. They told me that as of today – the post office is offering a new flat rate box over to the APO posts for a discount rate of $10.95 a box. It is a nice size box and it can weigh any amount. Check with your post office there are three different sizes – Be sure to ask for FLAT RATE
    hope this helps Kim

  278. Regina says:

    My son is in Bagdad now, but before he left he gave me this number to call and they will send you all the supplies for free you need to mail a package to your soldier. I got my package today. It includes 8 boxes, priority mail labels, customs forms, and 1 roll of tape. They will give you an ID# to use when you need any more supplies. There is no weight limit and it only costs 8.10 to mail flat rate. The boxes are about the size of a shoe box and the size of a laptop.The number is 1-800-610-8734. Some suggestions on what to send my son asked for Visine, freeze dried coffee, and shaving cream.

  279. hi my name is specialist kevin kinzer, i am in iraq, i am from the indiana national guard, and i would love to recieve letters/care packages from anyone who is willing to and looking for someone to send them to. my email address is kevin.kinzer@us.army.mil, if you send me a message there i will get back with you and give you the address.

  280. j.o. says:

    This website has been so helpful to me! I had no clue what to send my friend who was recently sent to Iraq, but now I have a great list of things I can send him. Thanks!!

  281. Laura says:

    A boy scout in our troop is collecting new sporting equipment to send to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan for his Eagle project. Does anyone know of any organization that will help with the cost of the shipping of this equipment?

  282. AngelShree says:

    My soldier is about to recieve a promotion and I was looking for some congrats care pack ideas…I was thinking about sending astronaut ice cream…but I heard they can actually get ice cream at some of the PXs in Iraq…but Im not sure if he can get it….is there any way of finding out? I would appreciate any ideas for his care pack!

  283. Sharon says:

    If you are looking for a site where you can support our troops and their families, check out Military-Space.org. This organization was started by two military men and has grown substantially since it started last year. We write letters, send care packages, and provide extra support as needed. There are also quite a few forums where you can ask questions and get information.

  284. Christina Gabriel's Mom says:

    My son is an Army Ranger deployed to Afghanistan.
    I sent cookies recently and purchased a vacuum pack device in the tin foil isle at Wal=Mart. My son said the cookies got there and they were all still fresh.

    I also sent him a small book light so he can read without disturbing his mates. If anyone has a solider that has a PC with internet connection, get them and yourself to download the software on skype.com they can phone your cell via the PC/Internet and you are not charged on your cell.

    You can see them if you have a video camera which you can send them as well and you can see them. It may be slow with the camera and voice on the PC but you can at least see them for a few seconds and freeze the picture so you almost feel like they are with you in heart.

    Pray we get the right leader this November.

  285. Chris says:

    As Toby mentioned in the post, a great organization for adopting soldiers, marines, sailors, airmen and guardsmen is http://www.anysoldier.com. Lots of tips for choosing and sending care packages, and friendly forums. I have adopted through several organizations and have had the best experience with this group.

    You can read through requests, or search by country, military branch, male/female, or specific keywords of your choice. Some of the requests just break your heart – like the requests for any letters because they don’t get any mail at all.

  286. Jenifer says:

    i cant find an online prepackaged care packages for soldiers that takes american express, anyone help me?

  287. Roseanne says:

    Very nice website. My son leaves for Iraq next week for the first time. He is only about four weeks out of boot camp, with one of those weeks spent at home on leave. He is a direct infantryman with little experience or training other than his training in bootcamp. I’m very concerned for his safety, as I know everyone on this site is about their loved one. How are some ways you all stay positive and deal with the additional layer of stress?
    My son is a single soldier so his family is his main support. Do you know of any support groups for parents of deployed soldiers? I would like to connect with other mothers or fathers to learn how they make it through this difficult time.

  288. Roseanne says:

    When I read my questions, I’m not sure this is the proper place to post them. I will consult this blog for questions concerning topics dealing with shipping, letters, etc. Thank you for all you are doing for soldiers like mine.

  289. Peg Thon says:

    My son is a medic recently deployed to Afghanistan. He has asked for some individual laundry soap packets, if we can find them. Does anyone have any suggestions about getting these, besides going to a laundromat and feeding coins into a vending machine?

    Thanks for all the wonderful suggestions on this site and the people who keep it going. It is a service that is worth more than gold.

    God bless and keep safe all of our sons, daughters, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters…..whether in Iraq, Afghanistan, or just far away from home.

  290. Holly says:

    Roseanne,

    My 20 yr. old son is also in Iraq, single infantryman. My son has been there since Sept. If you’d like someone to talk to please contact me at hollygirlnc@yahoo.com. It helps to have someone to chat with. I don’t know about you but when he first left I had about a million and one questions.

    God Bless,

    Holly

  291. Lauren says:

    I know someone already asked this, but I can’t seem to find it… Can I send sparklers to my husband for 4th of July? And do you actually write it on customs form?

  292. Dear Friends: We started sending packages to Iraq, etc. in April 2007 and as of last week we have sent 1210 goody boxes, 1132 phone cards, over 2000 card and letters and live Christmas trees to the troops. I am president/founder of the Humanitarian Society – a non profit organization with no salaries or administrative costs. We are located in Boca Raton, Florida. Each box we ship is estimated to be $50.00 per box including the flat rate. My co-founder, Louis J. Labadini and myself handle everything. Members of our organiztion and concerned friends and neighbors make this all possible through donations and supplies for the goody boxes. We have received nice notes and emails from the troops making everything all worth while – just knowing they are protecting us and our country. This Humanitarian Society project will cotninue as the old song goes UNTIL THEY COME MARCHING HOME AGAIN. If anyone knows the address of any soldier in Iraq or Afghanistan you can Email me at bocahumanitarain@comcast.net and you can rest assure they will get packages. God bless us everyone as Tiny Tim once said and now I echo his sentinments and always with brotherl love to everyone. We must never forget to support our troops in everyway – they are a very special family to all of us. Look forward to hearing from you. Our WEB SITE is http://www.humanitariansociety.org – “Dr. Wayne” T. Moses, President/Founder, The Humanitarian Society, Inc.

  293. Dear Friends: We sent 12 large bags of U S Soil and a large bag of grass seed to one of our soldiers who wanted to plant it. He sent a picture of the small garden of grass that they planted in Iraq near their living quarters (tents, etc.) and before the boys go out on a mission they run through the American Soil for good luck. They use scissors to clip the grass. It is very heart warming and emotional. I feel that our soldiers are our children and we should all do what we can for them and bring that certain amount of happiness to them. God bless them all and always with brotherly love. Dr. Wayne T. Moses, President/Founder, The Humanitarian Society, Inc., 6811 Villas Drive, Boca Raton, Florida 33433 Web Site: http://www.humanitariansociety.org

  294. Taylor says:

    Hello!! Love the site. My boyfriend is currently stationed in Iraq for the first time. He has been there since January and will be home Dec at the soonest or March at the latest. He will then go back in 2010 :( I volunteer to do stuff with Blue Star Mothers and in reading the comments on here there is one thing I see missing from the lists of items recommended. Blue Star Mothers says to send dryer sheets and they somehow help with the sand fleas and some other insect that drives our boys crazy. Just a lil tip!

  295. Brenda says:

    For Peg Thon who asked about small packages of laundry detergent. These can de purchased at wholesalers who sell to businesses that have vending machines, including laundromats. Usually they sell only to those who have a business license, but if you explain the purpose, maybe they will make an exception. They come in large cartons, with many little boxes, but you can hold them and send to the soldier in measured quantities. Maybe a laundromat owner would be willing to order a case for you and you pay him/her.

  296. Taylor says:

    My comment earlier, number 295 about sending dryer sheets. Just in case any one was curious, they put the dryer sheets in their boots and it helps to keep sand fleas and another insect away that really bothers them over there. But if you do send them, dont send in a box that has food in it bc the dryer sheets will make the food taste funny. A blue star mom told me this week, to not be upset if he seems more grouchy now because the weather is heating up there and its now starting to be the hottest part of the year.

  297. Katherine says:

    I saw in an earlier post that someone asked about Maxim, but what about sending playboy?

  298. Taylor says:

    Hello everyone…. I was wondering if anyone who has sent the cake in jars over could tell me if on the customs form you just wrote, “cake in jars” or if there was something else you would recommend? I would appreciate it so much. And Katherine… my opinion on the playboy or even maxim is to just send it but that might just be me. Just write “magazine” on the customs form. I think our boys deserve it. If that is all they want, a magazine, then just let them have it, ya know? Hope that doesnt offend anyone, I just think with everything they are going through, they can have what they want.

  299. Andrew says:

    Can you send tobacco products to soldiers in iraq?

  300. Taylor says:

    Andrew…. yes you can send tobacco products.

  301. Skip Spoerke says:

    I thought I’d chime in about the concern about shipping Playboy. It’s not customs you should be overly concerned about. It’s the military regulations, which ban any type of pornography while deployed, that are the main concern. Maxim, not a problem. Stuff, not a problem. Playboy, problem. Penthouse, problem. Etc…

    I’m not saying our troops don’t have access to porn, but if they are caught it could escalate all the way to a court martial for disobeying a general order. So, here are a few tips of how you can reduce the risk of your favorite military member getting caught with something they shouldn’t have.

    1. take the cover off a “family-friendly” magazine like Guns and Ammo or Sport Bike, and tape the cover to the pornographic magazine similar to how you would attach a book cover on a schoolbook. It would be very wise to let the recipient know ahead of time to look for this magazine, so when the care package arrives he/she can hide the magazine quickly.

    2. burn a CD of photos marked “for your eyes only” or something similar. It would also be good to let them know that it’s on the way so when they view the contents they’re not shocked.

    3. cut or tear out a few pages from they’re favorite porn magazine and lay them inside another magazine. Again, let the recipient know that these photos are on the way and what magazine they need to look for.

    So, there are a few ways you can send porn to the troops with minimal risk of them getting caught and possibly getting in a lot of trouble for it.

    I know when I was in Iraq (2004-2006) we had routine “health and welfare” inspections, during which our personal belongings were sorted through to make certain we did not have anything the Army didn’t approve of. Hiding magazines is much more difficult than hiding digital photos.

    In summary, you need to make the recipient aware of anything “questionable” that you might be sending. If you say anything like, “In the next care package I’m sending an article that you’re really going to like. You’ll find it in Guns and Ammo. It’s for your viewing only. (wink, wink),” they’ll get the idea. Keep the “questionable” material as concealed as possible for their sake primarily and don’t, I repeat, don’t send it if they have ever told you not to.

    I hope that helps. I’m definitely not saying to do it or that I condone it, but I’m just letting you know how it can be done if you decide to send “questionable” material to your deployed service member. The tried and true.

  302. Skip Spoerke says:

    Also, I’d like to discuss the use of dryer sheets (fabric softener). From my experience, placing dryer sheets didn’t really help that much with keeping fleas away, but they did make my uniforms and boots smell much better! So, while it’s great in theory, I can’t say for certain that placing dryer sheets in your boots will keep the fleas away. However, I can say that placing dryer sheets in your boots will cut down on the odor coming from your feet.

    One thing that does help keep the fleas away is using Gold Bond Medicated Foot Powder on your feet and in your boots every day. It will also reduce the possibility of developing blisters and/or rashes on your feet.

    If you want to ship dryer sheets to the troops I’d still recommend it because it does make your clothes smell a little more like home. What you should do with liquids, powders, dryer sheets, and any strong scented items (soap especially) is place them in ziploc bags before placing them in the care package. This prevents any spills from getting on everything else and odors from absorbing into everything else. Doing that will also allow for shipping foods with these items without concern of ruining the food.

    While I’m talking about food I’ll also say that shipping chocolate is usually not a good thing, but shipping chocolate chip cookies, chocolate brownies, and M&Ms is a very good thing. Additionally, don’t ship anything that has a shelf life of less than a minimum of 2 weeks. Even if your military member receives the care package in a week you have to take into consideration all of the climate changes that food is going through on the way. A friend sent me some homemade breads for my first Christmas in Iraq… not good… just about all of it had grown mold. Granted, we ate most of it anyway, but that’s an entirely different story.

    So, there you have it. If anyone has any questions that you think I might be able to answer please email me at skip@specialkindness.org. I’d be more than happy to help.

  303. Heather says:

    Hi. Just wondering if anyone has sent Easy Cheese in a can and if it held up ok to the air pressure and such? I don’t want to send it and create a potential scare if it explodes en route. :) Thanks!

  304. Skip Spoerke says:

    Heather –

    I received canned cheese a few times while deployed and never had a problem. Just place it in a ziploc bag and hope for the best. When filling out your customs form, just list it as cheese.

    Hope that helps.

  305. Mary K. says:

    I recently shipped out a package to a soldier in Afghanistan but I wrote the address wrong. Instead of “A Troop” I wrote “HHT” instead..everything else is correct though. Do you think my soldier will get the package?

  306. toby says:

    Mary,

    I think the package should still probably get there. Usually, the battalion staff will pick up all the mail for all their units and then disperse them from there. So it may go to the wrong unit at first but they should notice the mistake and send it on to the correct destination.

  307. ally says:

    Hi. first of all i would like to say what a great site. Secondly I have a question I hope someone can help me with. I recently found out that an old friend is in Afghanistan. I would love to send him a care package but I really would like to send him things anonymously. I don’t need any thanks from him, just want to pay it forward. So, basically I know his full name, age, hometown and that he is in Afghanistan. Is there a way to find his address? If I just send it out with his full name, US Army, Afghanistan would it eventually reach him?

    Thanks for your help

  308. toby says:

    ally,

    Thanks, glad you like the site. To answer your question, unfortunately without any address at all your package won’t be delivered. Afghanistan is pretty big. :)

    You would need to know what unit he is in; you can then call them to find out his address if you know his name. Even if you only know his Division or where he was stationed, you should be able to call around enough to find out. Good luck…

    toby

  309. Giorgia says:

    Hello everybody!
    As many others, i am facing for the first time the issues of the military world from the perspective of the girl worrying for the guy she likes…
    My story is a little peculiar as I met my guy few months ago through a dating website (i’m italian working on my MA in schoole in the states!). However, he works for KBR at Speicher and we have finally met for the first time a couple of weeks ago.
    Anyway, I would like to surprise him by sending him a care package, i know the address because i saw him writing it down but I don;t know if speicher is an FOB or COB…Any clue???
    Also, i have read that the PX they have there is one of the best, but I really have no clue about what they sell there…
    He likes homemade popcorn, so I am seeing if i can make him some and send it to him vacumed (somebody else did it and apparently it worked!)
    I would like to send him bed sheets, but I don’t know the size of the beed. is it twin or full?
    He likes pizza but the pizza hut they have there makes an horrible pizza…so i was wondering if you could suggest any snack that would taste as close as possible to pizza? I have been in the states too little to develop a palate for all the food you have here!

    thanks, Giorgia

  310. Holly says:

    Well, why not pizza flavored popcorn?

    2 tablespoons parmesan, parmigiano-reggiano cheese, grated grated
    1 teaspoon garlic powder
    1 teaspoon italian herb seasoning
    1 teaspoon paprika
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 dash black pepper
    2 quarts popcorn, popped hot
    Directions

    In blender, blend cheese, garlic powder, italian seasoning, paprika, salt and pepper about 3 minutes.

    Place popcorn in large bowl; sprinkle with cheese mixture.

    Toss to coat evenly.

  311. Aylor says:

    I was wondering if someone who has done the cake in a jar? I love the idea but was wondering what you wrote on the customs form? Jars of cake? I would really appreciate any advice on what to write on the form. I know you have to be careful what you write. Thanks for any help!

  312. Skip Spoerke says:

    Regarding the “Cake In A Jar” on customs forms… If you write “cake” you’ll be fine. If you write “food” you should be fine. If you write “Cake In A Jar” you’re just making it more work than necessary, but you should be fine with that too.

    One thing that everyone shipping or plans to ship care packages should know is that the customs forms, while the Post Office wants them filled out with as much detail as possible, only hold so much information. For example, if you’re sending a care package that contains several different types of candy, a few CDs, a couple of books, and a magazine, you can just write “candy, CDs, books, and magazine” on the form. Listing everything by brand, type, and/or title is taking an unnecessary step. It’s okay to generalize a little on the forms.

    Hope that helps.

  313. Katherine says:

    someone posted something about sending plants. Is that possible? and if so, how do I do it and what can I send? thanks!

  314. We recently (a few months ago) send 12 large flat rate boxes of american soil and a large bag of grass seed to one of our men in Iraq. He planted it and when the grass grew they would run thru it before they went on a mission for good luck as they ran through the American soil. They trim the grass with scissors which we sent. Since April 2007 The Humanitarians have send 1347 goody boxes, 1133 phone cards, over 2000 dear Soldier letters and cards and at Christmas time we sent 9 live Christmas Trees to Iraq. We get wonderful Emails back from the soldier saying how happy being remembered from home means to them. If you have any soldiers you want to receive goody boxes please email me at bocahumanitarian@comcast.net. We will be glad to send ouit what we can. God bless everyone that is remembering our troops in one way or another – that makes you all very special and makes the troops very happy. They all deserve being remembered in everyway. It is because of them our country is safe and we can feel secured.

  315. ciara says:

    hi, i know that packages are checked when being sent to Afghanistan, iraq, etc but just out of curiosity, if the packages are opened for security checks, are the letters that we write read by other people? before they are sent on to the person we write them for?

    thank you

  316. Cathleen says:

    I love this blog. I have read so many great ideas. My boyfriend will be leaving for Iraq at the end of this month and I have already started a care package for him. I plan on making the cake in a jar that was a great idea! Thank you to everyone who sends the soldiers care packages.

  317. Soldier Friend says:

    I have a friend from High School who is over in Iraq. I’ll be sending him a care-packege… an even larger one, now that I have so many more ideas! (Thanks everyone!!)

    On the usps website, there are 2 different customs forms, Customs Declaration and Dispatch Note (2976-A) and Customs (2976). Which one should I use? Is there a difference? Also, there’s an evelope for the customes forms, should I get a few of those as well?

    Thanks,
    Friend of an Army Soldier

  318. MARine WIFE says:

    My husband got deployed less then a month ago with 4 days notice! i have recently talked to him and was informed that most marines on his base were given nothing but a fitted sheet to put over the mattress…he has been using his camis for a pillow and his poncho liner as a blanket! a pillow and blanket is something so small to send but it makes a huge difference to them physically and mentally!

    oh and for CIARA no your letters are not read but i believe they check photos and you can always try MOTOMAIL if you wanna write him a quick note saying hi….they cant respond but trust me its nice to get those little notes especially when you havent had time to call home in awhile! oh i just read on usps that they do not except homemade goods in care packages because they do not have listed ingredients!

    and regarding GIORGIA’s post….they have twin beds.

  319. ciara says:

    thank you so much for clearing that up for me – i really appreciate it :)

  320. BriansMom says:

    Would someone please post or email the recipe for the Cake in a Jar? Also, what would be a nice send-off gift for my son who is deploying to Iraq next week? I thought about a bunch of snacks for the long trip… I appreciate any suggestions!

  321. 24024 says:

    MY SCHOOL IS GOING TO SEND SOME PACKAGES TO IRAQ. I DONT KNOW HAT WOULD BE GOOD TO PUT IN THEM ANY SUGGESTIONS? I HEARD TOOTH BRUSHES TOOTH PASTE GUM CANDY AND LETTERS ARE GOOD. IS THIS TRUE?

    P.S. IS IT A GOOD IDEA TO SEND LITTLE STUFFED ANIMALS FOR THEM TO GIVE TO CHILDREN.
    DOES ANY ONE KNOW HOW MUCH IT COSTS TO SEND SOMETHING FROM AZ TO IRAQ?

  322. ciara says:

    hey i went to the post office today to send a parcel to Afghanistan, and the man behind the counter said that all mail to Afghanistan is suspended… and i cant post it… has this happened to anyone else or is it just from Ireland? or does anyone know when it’ll be running again, or if this usually happens?

  323. Sheree says:

    This is such a wonderful resource. my little brother is deployed in iraq with the marines, and his answer to “what should we send” was “whatever you want”. there are so many things on here i wouldn’t have thought of, and most of them can be found at the dollar store, which is good because my budget is tight!!! We have the military kit from the PO, and now i have a great list in hand to fill those boxes with! Thanks again, everyone!

  324. Skip Spoerke says:

    Ciara,

    Every once in a while you may run into a problem with mail being suspended. It’s not common, but it can happen. I’d give it a couple of weeks and try again.

    Mail being suspended can be caused by several reasons, but the most likely reason is because the military postal service is backed up and they need to get caught up. Sometimes this is due to a change of unit assignments (a new unit taking over the mail for that area) and other times it could be due to weather or other factors.

    Hope this helps.

  325. Skip Spoerke says:

    24024,

    Sending items to give to local children usually isn’t a good idea unless you know for certain the unit is working with a local school or something similar. The US military frowns upon soldiers giving the locals anything in most situations, and while it’s unfortunate, it also makes sense.

    In 2003-2004 MREs and their wrappers that were left behind and/or given to the locals were being used to hide and disguise numerous IED triggers and IEDs. When we stopped giving away the MREs, that type of disguise was taken away from the insurgents. Insurgents were also using Beanie Babies and other small toys to disguise these things. So, the higher ups decided it best to not authorize giving items away that could be used to harm coalition forces or civilians. Additionally, giving away items like that could actually be enough to cause a civil war if one area of the country gets more stuff from the troops than another.

    Items to include in care packages can range from CDs and DVDs to bare essentials like toothpaste and soap. As the vice president of an organization that ships care packages to the troops I can tell you that most of the requests we get are for movies, candy, and office supplies. We also get a few for deodorizers like those you’d hang in your car and other odds and ends – the troops use them in their living quarters, wall lockers, and sometimes the vehicles.

    Every care package we send out has letters inside. Our next shipment of 500 care packages will also include a DVD of more than 100 video messages of thanks and appreciation from average Americans like you and me. This type of thing is greatly appreciated by the troops. It confirms that America still cares and supports them.

    As a veteran of the war in Iraq I can attest to the power of a care package. Care packages were the bread and butter for reminding us why we were there doing our jobs, and they motivated us to continue working hard. So, the amount of money that goes into a care package can be a lot or a little, but what matters most is the fact that you, or your school, hasn’t forgotten. That’s what most service members truly appreciate.

    Cost for shipping a care package can vary just as much as the contents inside do. I’d recommend going with a flat-rate package. There are a couple of different sizes to choose from and you can fill them as much as you want. I believe the smaller flat-rate box is a little more than $8 and the larger one is a couple dollars more.

    Don’t forget, before you send a care package you have to have the complete name and address for the recipient; the military no longer allows “to any service member”. You also must fill out a customs form for each package. I’d recommend, if you’re sending more than a couple at a time, to pick up several customs forms from the post office and fill them out before bringing in the packages. They are probably the most time consuming part of sending care packages.

    Hope this helps.

  326. army gal says:

    what exactly does an APO address look like? I ahve an address but it dont say APO anywhere. do i use the APO flat rate box to ship a package?

  327. Skip Spoerke says:

    An APO address looks like this usually:

    service member name (written last name, first name)
    service member unit (depends on unit policies if included or not)
    unit # 56789
    APO AE 01234

    APO could also be FPO
    AE could also be AA or AP

    The APO or FPO designator is required on these addresses and you need to know which one to use, as is the AE, AA, or AP designator. If you have the zip code which is the number that follows APO AE you might be able to Google that and find out if it’s APO or FPO, otherwise you need to ask the person who gave the address to you.

    You can use any box you’d like to ship the package, but I’d recommend using a Flat-Rate from the post office as it will most likely be cheaper for you.

    Keep in mind that you don’t pay international shipping when shipping to APO or FPO addresses from the US.

  328. Sally says:

    Hey Everyone,
    I found this great coffee with an incredible message of peace and hope. The coffee is grown by together by a cooperative of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim farmers in Africa. I tried a bag and it tastes INCREDIBLE!! http://www.deliciouspeace.com
    Any thoughts on sending this coffee to as many troops as we can for holiday gifts?? We could get parents / friends of soldiers involved.
    Soldiers get great coffee and a warm ‘pick-me-up’ in spirit when they read about this cooperative.
    Any thoughts or suggestions?
    Sally

  329. Skip Spoerke says:

    Hi Sally,
    I just checked out the website and think this coffee would be a great thing for the troops to receive! As far as getting the coffee to the troops for this holiday season, it might be a little too late for that as any fundraiser usually takes a lot of planning, but nothing’s written in stone.

    With that being said, perhaps Special Kindness In Packages could work with you on this project. We currently have just about 400 service members that we ship care packages to on a regular basis. That number fluctuates a lot as new names are added to the list and others come off the list as they return home, but 400 seems to be about the average. Our next shipment of packages will be going out the week of October 12 and we’re hoping to have enough supplies and cash left over to send another care package to each service member on our list near the end of November.

    I think we could get a really good project going here and am interested in hearing some of your ideas. Please send me an email at skip@specialkindness.org and let me know if you might be interested in partnering with us! In the meantime, I’ll get to work on a few ideas myself and hopefully we can pool them together very soon.

    Thanks!

  330. amanda says:

    can i send a video camera to my husband in afghanistan?

  331. Skip Spoerke says:

    Amanda,
    Yes, you can send a video camera to your husband. Check with your local Post Office to find out the best way to do so.

  332. Lara says:

    Hi my name is Lara and I have an adress of a soldier whos troop is in need of things. They need any personal hygiene supplies, books magazines, games, dvds, and snacks

    (Address removed; please see comment #270)

  333. Skip Spoerke says:

    Lara and everyone else,

    Please DO NOT give addresses for military members on this site. If you want to give their address out please do so using an America Supports You organization or your personal friends/family ONLY.

    I can’t stress the importance of this.

    1. Go to http://www.americasupportsyou.mil
    2. Choose “Service Members” from the right column
    3. Choose “Receive and Send Packages”
    4. Select an Organization
    5. Submit the military member’s information to the selected organization

    This is for your service member’s safety. I’m not saying it to be rude. The organizations affiliated with America Supports You have been thoroughly examined by DoD before being accepted into the program.

    Posting this information on a public website is a direct violation of OPSEC and PERSEC. For more information on OPSEC and PERSEC please visit any of the websites found at: http://www.specialkindness.org/about.php#opsec

    Thank you for your understanding.

  334. Dear Friends: A year ago April in 2007 The Humanitarian Society, Inc., of which I am President/Founder, started Operation Goody Box and as of last week we have sent 1507 Goody Boxes to our service men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan. We will continue this mission until they all come marching home again as the old song goes. We also sent 1133 phone cards, 3173 Dear Soldier Letters from friends and citizens in the communities and 9 live Christmas Trees in 2007. If anyone has names and addresses of any of our service men and women that you would like boxes sent to please Email me with names and addresses. My Email is bocahumanitarian@comcast.net – WEB SITE: humanitariansociety.org – God bless us everyone and always with Brotherly love from “Dr. Wayne” T. Moses, President/Founder in Boca Raton, Florida

  335. Destiny says:

    I am fixing to send a care package to my bast friend recently deployed to Iraq. My question is. Are we allowed to send baked goods or not

  336. Skip Spoerke says:

    Destiny,
    Yes you can send baked goods. Try not to send baked goods such as breads, cake, or pie though – they usually don’t make it very well. Cookies and brownies are always appreciated by the troops!

  337. Destiny says:

    Nah Im not sending cakes, pies, or breads.. Just sending alot of fattening cookies, brownies and fudge…
    Thanks..

  338. toby says:

    Nothing wrong with sending fattening foods — contrary to popular belief, the desert gets *very* cold in the winter!

  339. Destiny says:

    Yeah your right Toby.. The desert does get cold in winter and then super freaking hot in the summer.. Being the Holidays are coming up do you have any idea what the can and cant have over there? I know Liquer is a no-no..

  340. Skip Spoerke says:

    Things you definitely want to stay away from shipping include alcohol, pornography, drug paraphernalia, flammable liquids, and things like that. Basically, if it won’t catch fire or explode, doesn’t raise concern of sexual harassment, or possess the possibility of impairing judgment it can be sent. Hand warmers and other warm things are greatly appreciated this time of year.

    It has been recommended not to include pork products in care packages going to the Middle East, but that’s not so much a rule as it is a suggestion. The reason for that is because religiously pork is a questionable food and we don’t want to upset anyone who might be offended to see a pickled pig’s foot come out of a jar (just an example).

    Anyway, I hope this helps!

  341. MW skipper says:

    I have come up with many things to send over to my guy in afghanistan. True, they do have a PX, but by the time my guy gets there, most of the supplies are already sold out (he only gets to go there about once a month) – so especially toletries are sold out.

    Some ideas on what to send them starting with a few original ideas i’ve come up with:

    *a jar full of little notes tied up with little ribbon, one for each day, with a note on it

    *send them a tape recorder with blank tapes so they can send them back to you considering the tapes can fit inside an envelope back to you, and also send them some tapes of you talking to them

    * an easy bake oven! yes, the ones for little girls to bake at home. send lots of the little mixes for it.

    *those hand held fishing games you can buy at walmart

    *golf clubs that can fold down and golf balls

    * 2 baseball gloves and baseballs

    * a football

    *get a Koozie made for them (they keep water bottles cold) but you can get them with pictures on them, ect.

    * as a joke there is gum you can find on EBAY and it’s the Anti-Masturbation Gum last up to 6 hours- and supposedly it does work, i myself have sent this as a joke and everyone found it quite funny

    *electric razors are better than the disposable razors

    * a sleeping mask with gelly inside it or beads

    *inflatable pillow & seat cushion

    * go to a jewlery place or even walmart does them, and they aren’t that expensive, but you can get your picture inscribed on a piece of jewlery and it looks like a dog tag. my guy loved his of me.

    *those miniture little fans that are hand held that you can buy from walmart that use batteries (once again send lots of batteries then)

    * Air freshners are huuuuge (those boys stink!)

    *Car freshners that dangle from your mirror

    *Dried Cranberries!!- a lot of the guys get kidney stones from drinking the water over there

    * foot massager

    *a kit with nail clippers, tweezers, and METAL hair clippers, nail filer

    * ROMANCE novels. they guys love to read them- remember ladies to go through them yourself and you CAN make comments on the side of the page

    * a coffee maker- there are some i have found that run off batteries

    * BATTERIES – before i forget that. and lots of them

    * toothbrushes and toothpaste (electric toothbrushes are loved)

    *SINUS medicine- it goes quickly over there due to all the dust

    *asprin, dayquill, nightquill, tylenol. – medicine in general

    *The rub you put on your chest or the patchs to help you breath better when you have a cold

    * ear plugs

    * miniture checkers board or chess (the magnetized ones where the pieces stick to the board)

    * Dart Board & basketball hoop for the back of the doors (small one)

    *Sheets! originalize them if you can just to make them that more special, but sometimes they hardly get sheets over there

    * a MINI fridge- splurge if you can, but okay if you can’t, but they do love them and are helpful

    *q tips

    * i found a wonderful cake idea in the jars from this site, and yes it works and they were fresh 2 weeks after i mailed them!! good job girl!

    *Crystal light, lemonade, green tea, stuff to mix with water- REMEBER pre sweetened!

    *mosquito net are a hit

    *bug replent patches (no cans of course)

    *miniture flashlight & book light

    *send slices of bread with little jars of peanut butter & jelly

    * a bread maker!- send mix and they can make their own bread

    *packets of mayo, mustard, and ketchup and ranch- any seasoning to make food better

    *salt & pepper

    *TOLETRIES OF COURSE- Axe, Gold Bond Medicated Foot Powder, BODY WASH is sometimes better than bar of soap because it’s easy to rinse off, BABY WIPES are a MUST, baby powder, dryer sheets for the boots, comb, single packets of laundry soap are big, towel, kleenez, REAL toilet paper! (hard to get especially if out in the field they get the rough stuff), deodarant, chap stick, apricot scrub, dental floss, dental picks,

    *CONVERSES and MERRELLS are good to send because of the weather, they are sturdy and breezy as well.

    *Gell Shoe things to put inside their shoes from walking so much

    *1000 Mile socks are good to send- ALWAYS send a lot of socks

    *Boxer briefs

    *new shirts- army kind

    *tic tacs, gum, candies

    *CHIps- pack carefully and cookies

    *Tesco’s kids repellent – it’s the only one that is unpressurized that i have found

    * disposable camera

    *dice/ playing cards

    *pasta and sauce

    *sewing kit

    *hand warmers

    *shoe laces

    *VITAMINS!

    *HEALTH foooood!

    *girl scout cookies

    *USE UNSALTED popcorn in baked goods, helps keep them fresh

    *LOTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTS of beef jerky

    *send cigarettes – like i said when they get to the PX sometimes they are just sold out

    *try send sparklers for fun, or water balloons, water pistols,

    *EYE DROPS!

    *send him little candies to pass out to friends

    *THORLOR combat boot sock 8888467567 (number to call them to order they are the best)

    *duct tape

    *Coloring books with coloring stuff!

    *Marine Ka-Bar Knife (nothing against regulations and very helpful)

    *hand held GAME BOYS

    *BUILD A BEAR!! record your voice in it

    *send a pair of your PANTIES ladies!

    *Oakley sunglasses black/siler radar frame with black/grey/clear Pitch lens x5

    *Combos, Gushers, poptarts, fig newtons, oatmeal cream pies, little debbie stuff, nutty butty,

    *flip flops

    *LOTS of letters- dram them something, decorate it, do something!

    *TONSSSS of pictures

    *alarm clock

    *maybe a new watch (they might break or something out there)

    *DVD’s

    *MAXIMUM is okay to send MAGAZINE wise

    *thermos

    *lollipops

    *harmonicas!

    *TUMMMMS and stuff for heart ache

    *in a flat box send one entire flat box full of their favorite sodas! (they usually only drink lots of water)

    *foot scrubber

    more lateeeeeer

    hope this helps!!

  342. Sandy M says:

    My SO is in Iraq for his 2nd deployment and he just emailed me to let me know how great his boxes were. A BIG hit were the powered attack helicopters that he can fly around as well as the nerf ball guns and the big “wet soaker” guns. I also sent a few strands of chili pepper lights and some good rifle cleaning supplies. What was so sad, was that he said no one had ever done anything like this for him on his first tour. plan on doing one of those silly Chia pets for the Holidays. Was also going to make stockings for his squad out of old fatigue material. Oh, and a pair of my sexiest panties…Gotta support our Troops.

  343. Chuck Spinner says:

    My name is Chuck Spinner. In January of 2008 I published a book of the beautiful and inspiring favorite prayers of 118 wonderful celebrities. The work is entitled A Book of Prayers: To the Heavens from the Stars. The book would make a great Christmas gift for the military personnel overseas.
    Included among the famous people who have sent in their favorite prayers are Oscar winners; Heisman trophy recipients; Olympic gold medalists; four-star generals; a Nobel Peace Prize recipient; and even a monarch and three former Miss Americas. Prayers have come from the only pitcher to have hurled a perfect World Series game; from the player who hit “the shot heard round the world”, from the only two-time Heisman trophy winner; and from the only undefeated four-time NCAA wrestling champion. Former Cleveland Browns All-Pro lineman, Doug Dieken, wrote the Foreword for the book.
    The book highlights both religion and history and illustrates that athletes, entertainers, and governmental officials can and do provide positive models for prayer in one’s life. Generals Norman Schwarzkopf and Tommy Franks have prayers in the book.
    Check out the book’s website (http://abookofprayers.com) for details on the book, my bio, a sample section from the book, and ways in which the book can be purchased. The book can be obtained through Amazon.com or simply by ordering through the publisher by calling 888-280-7715.
    The book is recommended in this month’s (Nov. 2008) Bookshelf section of the Catholic Digest. I was also thrilled to have signed books at the Notre Dame bookstore on Sept. 27th before the ND – Purdue football game.
    God bless your child who is serving our country through military service. I hope that your son/daughter enjoys and is inspired by the favorite prayers of the wonderful celebrities in my book of prayers! Merry Christmas.

  344. Koko says:

    Just wanted to thank MW skipper for all of her wonderful ideas! My husband is a contractor leaving next mth for and my brother is departing end of this mth with is reserve unit so I was looking for ideas and how tos. Thanks much. I am going to see if I can not get my daughter and her cheerleading team to get involved with sending packages and letters to those brave memebers of the Military who have little or no support from home.

  345. Laura says:

    This is a nice post about variety of Socks and its a very needed information.
    Thanks for such an important post.
    Thanks

  346. Holly says:

    I just wanted to let everyone know about this great site called BuildASign.com They sent me an email not too long ago from the FRG site saying they were giving away free banners to military families. I was pretty skeptical until I ordered one for my son when he returned from Iraq. This is a great banner that you can customize by even adding a picture of your soldier. It’s great quality and all I had to pay for was shipping. Check it out here: http://www.buildasign.com/Troops?pcode=6F316C5A39675032527247674D49774E2F5153614F513D3D&emcid=1170&extcid=1092&utm_source=Email&utm_campaign=TRpack&pv=0

    If this doesn’t work contact me and I’ll forward the email on to you. hollygirlnc@yahoo.com

  347. Holly says:

    PS, they are also offering jumbo cards to send to your soldier as well.

    God bless and happy holidays!

  348. Samantha says:

    Hey!
    If anyone knows any names of soldiers over seas who need care packages sent to them and don’t get alot please email me their address over seas. My e-mail address is pinkbabigirl1516@Yahoo.com. The company I work for sends care packages to soldiers every year and we dont have many names and address this year. We have put together the care packages already we just need address to send them to. Please contact me! Thanks!

  349. coleen says:

    Samantha, you can go to AnySoldier.com and get addresses any time you want. It is a GREAT site to find out what the soldiers need. Sometimes I grab things on sale, then get on the site & look for someone who needs what I could afford to grab. Just go to the site & click on “what to send”. then on the left will be a list of soldiers who posted a message. click on it & away you go!

  350. Paula says:

    This site is a godsend. A wealth of information. My 18 yr ol nephew was just deployed and is having a tough time. He recently lost his father a few months prior to his deployment I’m very concerned about him he’s been exhibiting signs of depression and is getting worst. He also dosen’t have a good support system, I’m trying to maintain that for him and will contact “Anysoldier/soldier’s angel”

  351. These kind of organizations are extremely protective of OPSEC and will not release the names and addresses of service members,i agree of this. Thank you for sharing of this entry,for sure the readers will like the layout of your blog. You have a nice blog. Keep up the good work.

    by: missy

  352. I need to know of the items that I can send to our grandson in Afganistan. Any help would be appreciated.
    Thank you

  353. cvtuff says:

    My boyfriend is stationed in Iraq, as many others loved ones are, and being young and in love has helped keep both our spirits high. But he has recently become so home sick and it really seems like he feels he is missing out. I model in NYC and I have been wanting to put together a calendar of some of my recent work for him. I have the permission to use the photographs however, they are what you might call “Maxim Style.” The last thing I want is for him to have it taken away from him. It isnt porn, but it might be considered close to. Would this calendar be allowed? And also, what about beach sand from our first date, like in a jar or something. Would it be allowed through customs? And what would I call it? Thank you so much. Any other sweet, romantic, or practical ideas for what a 19 yr old soldier would like please help! This site has been so wonderful and helpful!

  354. rocker1 says:

    Is it okay to send easter chocolate to iraq? will it melt? i hear it’s pretty hot there and wonder if it will make the journey. Any tips would be great!

  355. toby says:

    @cvtuff: If you’re ok with the fact that probably everyone in your boyfriend’s platoon will see the photos, go ahead and send them! Just put something like “pictures” or “literature” on the customs form. I guarantee he will very much appreciate it. Definitely do NOT send sand, however. That will certainly raise suspicions if it’s discovered by customs.

    @rocker1: Yeah, there’s a good chance the chocolate will melt on the way there, but as long as you package it OK it shouldn’t be too bad.

  356. Jennie says:

    I’m a teacher, and my AMAZING students bought 76 boxes of Girl Scout cookies to send to a National Guard unit from my home state. They were a big hit, and the kids got so much out of getting them ready. We got letters back, and I dedicated a bulletin board in my room for them. The kids come in every day to check and see if there are new ones. Great February project . . .

  357. Stacey says:

    My bf just deployed and I wish to send him a package but first I just want to send him a letter! Do I need to put extra stamps on my envelopes or anything? And how long does it typically take for a letter to get there?

  358. Holly says:

    Hi Stacey. No extra postage is necessary on a simple letter, if you have included pictures or anything else that is making it bulky you might want to run it by the post office. Also it is taking about a week for most letters, just depends on where he is.

    Hope that helps!

    -Holly

  359. Bella says:

    Hello everyone,

    I met a very high ranking officer just a few weeks before he deployed somewhere in Afghanistan. He gave me his address so I could stay in contact with him and Id like to send him things he would like and need, however (I apologize in advance for sounding naive to all of the seasoned military families)I have absolutely no idea what he even likes as I havent known him long, and I also dont know what he needs…I assume he doesnt get special privileges because of rank (here is where the naivety comes into play) but I dont know. Can someone please help me?

  360. Harley says:

    Toby,

    I am teaching a course at our church on Babylon and Archaeology. I was able to see the Ishtar Gates in Berlin and photgraph them. I saw your pictures you took in Iraq. What unit were you in? Could I have permission to copy a few of your photos of the wall ruins for my presentation? I would appreciate it.

    Harley Ihm

  361. Gay Herrington says:

    If I bake fresh cookies and brownies to send to Iraq, should I vaccum pack them before shipping? Our Pharmacy Tech who is redeployed there realy likes them, but I want them to stay fresh for her. Thanks for the info.

    Gay

  362. Mary says:

    Can we still send silly string over? I heard it helps to detect IED’s.

  363. Donna says:

    I have learned a lot from your website toby. Thank’s for posting this information. My mom has been sending boxes to troops since I can remember and she was sending from P.O. in town where she lives. They stopped getting list of troops to send to. Can you please email me where to send a box already to go? She is not sure what to do from now on. Any info will help. Thank’s

    Donna

  364. ChristinaCole says:

    If anyone wants to find a soldier to write to go to http://www.adoptaussoldier.org. I got a name and address within 5 minutes of registering.

  365. steve says:

    i would like to work with someone in westchester county, new york who has sent packages to troops before.
    we are working toward “make a difference day” on oct.24,2009 and need a facility and volunteers (we may be able to supply the vols) to prepare donated objects to be packaged on that day.
    steveanita@earthlink.net

    thanks

  366. Spc. Smith says:

    I am in Iraq at the moment. I will be here for another 9 months. I stumbled upon this website and the above mentioned items are very good. I have been here 3 months and always smile when package comes in even if its not mine. Someone back home is remembering why were here. Email me anytime or if you would like my address here in Iraq I would be happy to give it to you. Thank You
    Robert.wayne.smith2@us.army.mil

  367. Tami says:

    I recently connected with an old friend that will be deployed to Iraq soon and I’ve worried about what to write to him about while he’s gone. I questioned emailing/writing about the day to day things (that I would normally talk to him about) because I didn’t want to make it harder on him hearing about the things here at home that he was missing. But from what I’ve been reading that doesn’t seem to be the case. That those are the things to write about. A lot of people have also posted about sending lots of pictures and I was unsure about that to begin with to for the same reasons. I am glad that I ran across this blog it has been very helpful.

  368. Carolynn says:

    My fiance just recently deployed to Afghanistan. I told him I was putting a care package together for him and asked him what he wanted me to include in it. He’s such a simple man that he didn’t really ask for much.

    Thank you for giving me such wonderful ideas. I’m sure the things I send him he’ll absolutely love and wonder why he didn’t think of them but I guess you wouldn’t if you have bombs and guns going off all around you.

    Thanks for this site it has been a Godsend!

  369. Liz says:

    These are great ideas to send to my friend who will be deployed over there later this year.

    What can I send to his wife and kids while he’s gone? I live 700 miles away and can’t help out around the house.

    Any ideas?

  370. Kim says:

    Yay for a site that gets updated and commented on often. My boyfriend will be deployed in the fall to Iraq and I think I’ve finally realized that he will be gone for a while. I’m more of a writing type than a “things” type so here are letters/notes/misc you can write to your deployed soldier:

    1. A list of things to do together when he/she is back
    2. Poem/story/funny anecdote
    3. If you have a webcam, start recording an audio book of your own. Pick out your favorite book and read 5 – 10 minutes of it at a time. Burn it on a CD, and that way, he has stuff to look forward to, even if you don’t have significant things to tell him.
    4. A story about a memory that you two have, what you felt, etc.

    To those who are writing to unknown/anonymous soldiers:
    1. Fun questionnaire to fill out
    2. Poem/story/funny anecdote
    3. Audio book applies as well

    If it’s awkward for you to send pictures of yourself and aren’t sure, why not send a picture message? Write a short message on a piece of paper and take a picture of yourself holding it. It may even just be “Thank you” or “I miss you” but it’s a good way to have a record of you, the sender, saying a short piece.

    Hope that helps!

  371. Brittany says:

    I wanted to say thank you to everyone for the great ideas! My aunt recently received the address for one of her friends who’s deployed, and we’re putting together a package for him and his unit. The number one thing he requested was small toys they can hand out to the kids over there. He said they’ve been giving out ink pens, because that’s all they had around! If anyone has suggestions for small, inexpensive, gender neutral toys we could send that would be light enough for the soldiers to carry in their cargo pockets when out in town, I would really appreciate hearing about it! You can email me at mathgeeksrule@yahoo.com. Thanks so much!

  372. Mary says:

    This is a great site! My brother just landed in Iraq today. I have been racking my brain on what I would send to him once he got there, and now I have a ton of ideas! I did not know about the flat rate boxes … thank you!

    God Bless our Troops!

  373. Kate says:

    Just a suggestion for those of you looking to send something useful: bore snakes to clean their rifles. They have them for their handguns, but not their rifles. And pipe stems for cleaning the “nooks and crannies.” Q-Tips sometimes leave a fiber strand. Pillows/dark colored pillow cases are also a big hit. They also like small battery-operated fans.

  374. meghan says:

    I just wanted to thank you for this website. My best friend just got deployed for his second tour to Afghanistan and I’ve been thinking of what would be good to send to him. I’m definitely going to send him baked goods now as I think he’d really enjoy that! A lot of these suggestions were things I would never have thought of :) I miss him so much and hope he makes a safe return home in 10 months.

  375. shelby lindsay says:

    I was hoping to send one or a few boxes to soldiers overseas but do not have any addresses that I could use to sent the packages. If you know or any soldiers that do not recieve much from home and a package and letter would lift their spirits please let me know. Please email their adddress, name, and anything about them (interest, gender, what they need, etc.) to me at:

    xyblehsx3@aim.com

    thank you very much! it surely is easier to help all those over seas if we all lend a hand! :)

  376. A soldier going so far from home is all alone and when they get a chance to lay back and relax, a good book can be very comforting.
    My new fantasy novel, “Gateway to DreamWorld,” was released last month. It will take his mind off of the harsh reality around him.

    The book is listed on Amazon.com or Barnes&Nobles.com

  377. L.D. says:

    I am sending a package of baked cookies to my brother in afghanistan…he was just recently deployed and hates the army food = ) Is it okay to send packages in those large freezer bags that are lined with insulation to keep foods cool? (I think Reynolds Brand makes them).

  378. ARW says:

    This blog is amazing!!!! I can’t wait to send my package. Question: tape recorders? okay, right?

    Thanks Toby!!!

  379. Benita says:

    Thank you for maintaining this blog. I found lots of good ideas. The squad I am sending packages to in Iran will definitely appreciate all of your contributions.

  380. Whitney says:

    For cookies — I found that the best way, although a little tedious, is to wrap each one in Glad Press & Seal once they have cooled for a few minutes (not all the way) and freeze them until you are ready to send them. This way they kind of get ‘shocked’ and will stay fresh and will still be chewy when they get to your soldier.

    Hope this helps! Thanks everyone for your continued support of our troops. My boyfriend is currently deployed and said the littlest things mean the world to them. Happy to help when and where I can!

  381. Whitney says:

    I’m finally putting all of my ideas and examples up on my blog — bear with me, but feel free to check because there are a lot of great new ideas going up this week!

    MailingMyLove.Blogspot.com

  382. jen says:

    I am shipping a package from Canada to my friend in Afghanistan … because it’s coming from Canada I taped the box A LOT … like completely covered it with tape …. then I realized, do either the USPS or the FPO open the boxes to look inside??? If so, this might be a problem!!! Any help would be great! thanks!

  383. toby says:

    Jen, I can’t promise that they would never open a package but I’ve not seen any cases where they do that. If they did end up needing to inspect it I’m sure they can just cut the tape open and then reseal it afterwards.

  384. vicki says:

    My daughter was in Iraq last year and Afghanistan now. She states the soldiers appreciate anything..if they themselves don’t use it, the soldier will share it with others. Ideas…favorite foods,gloves, socks, females like scented shower gel and lotion, current magazines,paperback books,current movie discs, puzzles,tuna and cracker kits, holiday decorations. I send her postcards weekly, from home or when on a trip…she decorates the wall with them! I mail frequent boxes, using flat rate postal boxes. They have all arrived with all contents inside. Don’t send pork content food or any magazine with a bare body on the cover.

  385. Sheri says:

    I belong to a small VFW Ladies Auxiliary and the ladies are looking to send packages to our soldiers in Iraq or Afghanistan and we are looking for an address(s) to some soldiers that do not get much in the mail. Any help in gaining this information is much appreciated. Please email me at starlightvalleyappaloosas@gmail.com Thank you in advance for any help. Sheri

  386. Kris S-C says:

    To buy individual mini boxes of laundry detergent (Tide, Cheer, All, Downy) at reasonable prices, I get them from http://www.minimus.biz Minimus also ships to APO/FPO addresses and if you order more than $20 worth of stuff, shipping is free (within continental U.S, APO/FPO addresses).

  387. Jesse says:

    Hey everybody I found a website that you can create your own package or pick a pre-made package to send to troops overseas. They even have a donate package. The packages start at $14.99.

  388. Maam,
    My daughter is currently in Kandahar Afghanistan and is going to be there for 12 more months. this is her second of every holiday missed because of the Marine Corps. Can you please have someone send her a care package she is lonely over ther, and she is only 19 YEARS old. will be haveing her 20th b-day over there! can u help please! thank you her name is LCpl Cintronvidal.blanca and her address is
    ISAF RC(S) HQ
    APO AE 09355

  389. Laura says:

    I found Ryan Rust’s site for adopting a hero. I adopted 2 Marines serving in Afghanistan. Great way to support our soldiers. I personally don’t know a soldier so this is the way I found to support our troops.

  390. Karen says:

    I just found your website, and wish I had read it sooner..lol. I sent my first package to a US Soldier in Iraq yesterday. I sent several non-restricted items to him (i.e. coffee, candy, toiletries, car magazines, and hunting magazines). I also slipped in a copy of Maxim and Playboy, not realizing that nude and semi-nude material is restricted. Everything is wrapped up in Christmas wrapping paper and the two magazines are in a package with the other non-restricted magazines. I am worried sick about it, and will not be able to talk to my soldier to let him know for another week. Do you have any idea what will happen when the package gets to inspection? Will I get in trouble? (I am hoping and assuming he wouldn’t because I sent it.) Will they just take out the two bad magazines and send the rest of the items in the box to him? I feel so terrible about this!

  391. Dottie says:

    Hi, just wanted to share a cool thing that I got to do for my son’s birthday in Iraq on a previous deployment. I made a Rice Krispy bar “cake” :) He loved it! So, I made the rice-krispy bar mix….you know on the cereal box package….krispies, marshmallow and butter. You have to work fast, as you know how gooey the mix gets, and it gets hard quickly! Divided mix into two halves. sprinkled chocolate chips evenly throughout one half. made each half into a round flat ‘plate’ about 1 1/2 inches high. in the top layer, i ‘imbedded’ his candles so that they were sticking up about 1 1/2 inches. i don’t remember but i think i put a little chocolate frosting in between the layers, then sat them one on top of the other. lined a round tin with wax paper, and set my little cake in it! ~~ i think it was a good surprise for him; anything to bring a smile to his face, ya’ know!? ~ he is going on a 3 month deployment to Afghanistan starting in January, and I plan to make him another one, even tho it won’t be his birthday. this time i’m going to have Andes Mints chopped and ready to quickly add to the mixture, as mint-chocolate-chip is his favorite ice cream, so this is as close as i can get to it! ~ by the way, God gets the credit, as i was desperate to make it a nice birthday for him, and this little cake was an answer to prayer! ~~ ok, well, i pass this along and hope it will be a blessing to any of you who are trying to give a little birthday party to your loved one! ~~~ oh! don’t forget to put in a pack of matches!!! ~~ God bless you!!!

  392. Kathleen says:

    Thank you for all the great ideas shared. My son’s package will be better supplied thanks to all of you for taking the time to share. My ideas: beanie caps to wear under their helmets; use local newspaper to fill in spaces in box–they can straighten them out and read.

  393. Suzie says:

    Dottie look in the chocolate chip section of your walmart/target/etc and you should find andes chips. therye awesome

  394. Chaka says:

    I have been skimming the posts for ideas to send to my boyfriend. This is his 7th deployment in his military career but our first together. I know what he likes, but I want to send items that will be relevant to the area that he is in. I’ve seen so many wonderful ideas and I am definitely going to try the cake in a jar, since he loves cake. I also notice on here that many people are wanting to send phone cards, but they have horrible usage and connection fees. An alternative might be a website called http://www.skype.com. Many soldiers have laptops, if they have webcam’s, you can communicate for free using the website http://www.skype.com You get to see each other face to face and it brought tears to my eyes to see my soldier’s smile and the whole family gathered around to talk to him. If they have a laptop and no webcam, add that to a care package.

  395. Chaka says:

    Oh, I also wanted to add that my soldier really really wants MUSIC! So I’m buying him an iPOD and loading it with his favorites.

  396. euni says:

    hi! I woul like to know if can i send tuna packages,chocolat,(like ferrero rocher) is not to soft.
    cane,spray deodorant?Its my first time i’ll sent a package to a friend in afghanistan??THANK YOU…

  397. JT says:

    This is the first deployment to Iraq for my boyfriend since we have been together. I am trying to put together a care package for Easter. He really likes brownies but I’m not sure how to send them to keep them fresh. I also thought something fun like water ballons or small water guns that the guys could blow off steam. I know real guns aren’t allowed. However, will water guns caues a ruckus? Will customs flag these on X-ray if they are declared on the customs form?
    Thanks!

  398. toby says:

    euni, yes, those things should all be fine, although the chocolate may get melty.

    JT, go ahead and send the water guns. Even if customs does X-ray the package, which is *highly* unlikely, plastic wouldn’t show up.

    As far as packaging the brownies, just be sure they are wrapped and in an airtight container. I’ve heard that placing a piece of bread in containers of cookies will keep them fresh (the moisture in the bread transfers to the cookies) so maybe that works for brownies too.

  399. Matt's_girl says:

    Hi! My boyfriend is leaving for Afghanistan in 5 days and I’ve been super nervous about the fact that I couldn’t do anything to make him feel better and the fact that we’d be apart for so long (he’s going for 7 months and we’re already long-distance anyway). I have spent most of today reading all the posts on this site and I can’t tell you how much it has helped me already! I have a long list of things that I can/should/want to send to him and now I can’t wait til I get an address to send to. Thanks to everyone for your great posts and ideas! My daughter will love making a Build a Bear for her daddy and I can’t wait til August to make him a birthday cake in a jar! Thanks so much. And good luck to everyone.

  400. Matt's_girl says:

    One question I had, since I am new to all of this and it’s his first tour of duty–he’s going to be there during the summer months, but from what I understand it gets really cold at night in deserts. Does anyone know if it’s the same in Afghanistan or is it just deathly hot all the time? I don’t know if I should send some warmer stuff for really cold nights. Thanks for any help.

  401. toby says:

    Matt’s_girl, glad the site has helped you prepare for his deployment. In Iraq the nights didn’t get cold in the summer but it got very cold in the winter. Not sure whether Afghanistan is the same.

  402. Laura says:

    I’ve seen several posts about pornographic material. My husband is currently in Afghanistan and he told me to not even send pictures of myself in a bathing suit! I send him Rolling Stone magazine, and I cut off the cover if there is a provocative picture on the front. They take this stuff seriously. If a military member is caught with nude or even semi-nude photos, they can and will get in serious trouble. Here is the information: “General Order No.1B (GO No.1B) prohibits the possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages and/or nonprescription drugs, possession of pornography and entering sleeping quarters of the opposite gender. These are serious offenses and the consequences are severe.” One story my husband told me was of a guy whose wife sent him naked pictures of their toddler (who had chicken pox or something) and he is being charged with possession of child pornography. Seriously! The people who wrote about hiding naked pictures and the soldiers getting a kick out of it – please don’t do this to your solider. Seeing a photo of a naked woman is NOT worth prosecution. To the poster who wrote about sending Playboy and Maxim – hopefully they will confiscate the package and he will not receive it. Yes, he can get in trouble even though you sent the package. I hate to say it, but it’s happened many times before. Please pass on the information NOT to send porn in a care package!

  403. Tim says:

    Great info here. My children are going to send some hand drawn/painted art this week. We have also compiled a list of things to send based on some of the comments here. Thanks to all of the many men and women that serve for this country! May god be with you all!

  404. Jodi says:

    A few things that I sent when my friend was overseas:
    a birthday cake from bakeawish.com along with some party hats, candles, plates, a pinata filled with beef jerky and gum etc., i also sent a balloon called a bubble balloon. when he opened the box the balloon came flying out.
    at christmas i sent him a tree from christmas tree express along with some lights, christmas music and christmas dvds (the grinch, nat lamp xmas vac). i also wrapped up some presents so he had something to open. one present was a dartboard. Be silly. They love it.

    They all say they are fine. Because they are strong people. Just think of what you would miss the most and find a way to package it. it doesnt have to be much, it really is the thought.

    2 sites that I have used are adoptasoldier.com and adoptahero.com. I can not beat the feeling of sending off that letter or package knowing that you will bring a smile to whomever opens it.

  405. 11b says:

    Hi All,

    You can send care packages to anonymous soldiers here
    http://www.thecampaignstore.com/store/default.asp?parentid=291&rname=mafhome

    The checkout uses your address as the ship to but they do send the care packages to the soldiers.

    Their legitimate. They do a fund raiser before every major holiday on 870am talk shows. You can also check them out on krla870.com

    I have family serving in the middle east now. We send stuff to him regularly but I know there are soldiers who don’t have that luxury. Hope this helps.

  406. trish newcomb says:

    i want to adopt a uk soldier serving in iraq -afghanistan but dont know how to do it any suggestions welcome no datin sites tho iv come across enough of them i just want to be a penpal and send packages

  407. animalrescue says:

    Toby – I don’t know if you are still checking this but I sent my first care package to a friend who is deployed in Afghanistan on his third tour. I mailed all sorts of goodies in a 14 x 16 box, carefully packaged on August 22 leaving from Houston. I still don’t think he has received it because I haven’t heard from him. The postal plus office that I mailed it from helped me complete the customs form but said not to worry about listing the quantity or weight of the contents but he listed the total weight at 8.5 lbs which was correct. I did list the actual contents though. I noticed you stated in a previous posting from several years ago that the customs form is a formality and that minor errors wouldn’t prevent a package from reaching the soldier. I guess I’m just worried that perhaps mine did get rejected or held up because I left out the quantity of items. It’s now been over two weeks since I mailed it and either he hasn’t received it or he doesn’t have internet service right now.
    What has been the longest that you have known a package to take and could the customs form delay his receipt of the package?

  408. tink says:

    Hi Guys,

    I have a group of ladies at work who would love to send a box to the Army Ranger batallion in Afganistan. One of them was married long ago to a Ranger so that is where her heart is. Anyway they are older now and have no one they know there, so if anyone has a person that is a Ranger they would love the info and the whole troop would make out.

    Thanks,

    Tink

  409. tink says:

    OOPs this is Tink again, you can email me any name and address of a Ranger and I will make sure the ladies get it.

    tink4kk@gmail.com

    Thanks,
    Tink
    NY

  410. Sherri Tierney says:

    My son is in Afghanistan. It’s a challenge to find something new each week to put in his care package. I love sending them! He is my brave hero whom I am very proud of! The shipping is $13.95 priority mail in a pretty good sized box. God Bless all of the troops!

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