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They Won't Be Home For The Holidays: A Quick Guide To Care Packages For Miltary Personnel
October 19, 2003 | VOA(me)

Posted on 10/19/2003 1:55:49 AM PDT by VOA

Preamble -- October 18 marks my first shipment of care packages to a Military service-person overseas
(specifically to Baghdad). I was going to do it since about summer, but hesitated...partly because I wasn't
sure how to proceed. Thus, I now present a (Very) Quick Guide to the sending of care packages.


Point #1: Timing IS EVERYTHING
Keep these DEADLINE dates in mind (from the US Navy website at this URL:
http://www.chinfo.navy.mil/navpalib/questions/holidaymail.html

The United States Navy

Holiday mailing — 2003

The Naval Supply Systems Command's Postal Policy Division, in cooperation with the U.S. Postal Service and military postal officials from all of the services, notes that it’s not too early to mail 2003 holiday cards, letters, and packages to and from military addresses overseas. In fact, everyone is encouraged to beat the last minute rush, and bring holiday mail and packages to the nearest U.S. Post Office or APO/FPO military post office by these suggested dates:

For military mail addressed to APO and FPO addresses, the mailing dates are:

For military mail FROM APO and FPO addresses, the mailing dates are:

Parcel post — Nov. 13
Space available — Nov. 28
Parcel airlift — Dec. 4
Priority mail, first class cards and
letters — Dec. 11

Space available — Nov. 20
Parcel airlift — Dec. 4
Priority mail, first class cards and letters — Dec. 11

Revised: 25 September 2003




Point #2: Identify Your Target (Service Person)

You must have a specific service person's address for the mailing of letters or packages; the "any service man"
mailing is a thing of the past.

Even if you don't know a person serving oversears personally, you know someone who does.
Ask around, check with your faith community (church, temple, etc.), your city newspaper.
For example, my hometown newpaper even has a website with service- persons names and military
address. In my case, I contacted the employer of a U.S. Army chaplain; they had his APO (military)
address and e -mail address.

Point #3: If Sending A Package, Try To Contact The Service Person FIRST, if possible
Even though 99.999% of service personnel would love (and be happy with) a nice, supportive letter from
stateside, a package really sends the message.
Luckily, I was able to exchange e-mails with a Chaplin in Baghdad and thus he gave me a prioritized list
of school supplies his unit needs to help their adopted elementary school

Take-home message: prior contact gives the service person what they need, maximizing the benefit/cost
factor.


Point #4: Consult the USPS (United States Postal Service) for information
Talking to counter personnel is helpful, but time-consuming, so go to www.usps.gov
Consult: "Supporting Our Troops FAQs" at http://www.usps.supportingourtroops/supportingfaqs.htm
Military Addressing Tips at http://www.usps.supportingourtroops/addressingtips.htm
Military Packaging Tips at http://www.usps.supportingourtroops/packagingtips.htm
Other Ways To Support Our Troops at http://www.usps.supportingourtroops/otherways.htm

These will give you the basics and answers virtually all your questions.
For those who desire to send packages, the take-home is that you can box up goods in a "Domestic"
Priority Mail box, take it to the US Post Office, fill out a PS Form 2976-A Customs Declartion and
Dispatch Note" for each box you send.

Point #5: OBEY Restrictions on your mail! Don't tick off the host country!!
While at the "Supporting Our Troops FAQs" at http://www.usps.supportingourtroops/supportingfaqs.htm
click on the Overseas Military Mail link. Use the military "zip code" in your service person's military
address to determine which (of that huge list of) restrictions apply to your shipment.
Of course, the usual biggies are the prohibition on shipping pork and against shipping religional material'
for other than personal use by the service-person.
DON'T be intimidated by the restrictions list...take a few minutes to work through it in order to avoid
problems.

Point #6: Time to get the box and all the stuff to go in it!
Make out your shopping list
Go to the USPS office and pick up an appropriate shipping box.
In my case, I found I could load and send two "Domestic" Priority Mail boxes.
I took the box with me to the store, and noted if the items to ship would fit that box.
Load up box, leave one flap easy to open, in case the Post Office counter-person wants to
inspect the contents.
Also write out a "shipping manifest" to go into the box. This could help postal workers to
reassemble the shipment if the box should break. Xerox a copy for your records (or store
on computer)

Point #7: Time to mail!
Take your box(es) to your local post office.
Fill out a Form 2976 or Form 2976-A for customs purposes.
I used the Form 2976-A for each box. Here is the important part...put this verbatim phrase in the
box for description of the box contents:

"Certified to be a bona fide gift, personal effects, or items for personal use of
military personnel and their dependents."


Pay the shipping charges. In my case, it cost about $14 for me to send a TOTALLY packed
Priority Mail box, weighing about 10 pounds.
Priority Mail going the APO or FPO route should take 10-15 days to arrive; the less expensive
parcel route takes more like 24 days.

Point *8: Contact your service person, if possible
Because tracking is not available for even Priority Mail going through the APO/FPO
system, send an e-mail to your service-person to let them know the package is on the way;
include the "shipping manifest" in the e-mail for two reasons.
The shipping manifest lets the service-person know what material is "in the pipeline" and thus
they can customize/re-prioritize their wish-list for other donors.


TOPICS: Activism/Chapters; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: carepackages; enduringfreedom; military; rebuildingiraq; serviceman; supportourtroops
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
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1 posted on 10/19/2003 1:55:50 AM PDT by VOA
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To: VOA
bump
2 posted on 10/19/2003 1:59:23 AM PDT by Terp (Retired US Navy now living in Philippines were the Moutains meet the Sea in the Land of Smiles)
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To: Martus; Enough_Deceit; ThirstyMan; kattracks; Lijahsbubbe; chance33_98; Ex-Dem; BushisTheMan; ...
My apologies in advance, if you've been pinged accidentally.

Otherwise, you should know you were pinged because you posted/replied to a thread
on care packages for our military personnel overseas.

Time draws nigh...if you want a package/letter to arrive in time for the
Holiday season!!!
3 posted on 10/19/2003 2:00:57 AM PDT by VOA
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To: VOA; Kathy in Alaska; MoJo2001; LindaSOG; LaDivaLoca; bentfeather; Bethbg79; Iowa Granny; ...
"Point #2: Identify Your Target (Service Person)
You must have a specific service person's address for the mailing of letters or packages; the "any service man" mailing is a thing of the past.... "

A Quick Guide To Care Packages For Miltary Personnel PING

VOA : Great info in your thread!
4 posted on 10/19/2003 2:25:21 AM PDT by 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub (Have you said Thank You to a service man or woman today?)
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub
Thanks for the ping and your ping-list.

The major take-home is: the holiday mailing season IS OPEN (and won't be around long).
AND to get up and mail NOW!!!


I published because I came close to sending packages in the summer...but got conflicting
details on the mechanics of the operation.

But, with the holidays approacing, I decided to "break down the door", e.g., I just
ignored the one page on the US Post Office website that says mail over 12 ounces
was not being delivered to Iraq...but apparently this does not apply to what goes
into the APO/FPO system.
And it took some time to accept that the APO/FPO system is sort of alike a Domestic system,
even though the goods are going overseas.
5 posted on 10/19/2003 2:33:16 AM PDT by VOA
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To: Terp
thanks-for-the-bump bump...
6 posted on 10/19/2003 2:47:35 AM PDT by VOA
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub
Additional points I failed to include in the lead section:

1. I suspect my service-person is telling me a manly fib when he says "all we need are
supplies for our adopted Iraqi elementary school", when his troops wouldn't mind some
goodies from home.
I am going to send some goodies for the holidays...even though today's troops are probably
following in that fine American military traditions: being World Champion "Re-Gift"ers and
the chocolate bars end up in the XMAS stocking for one of the school kids.

2. It's good to remember lady soldiers are in the theater. Include some items with
more feminine appeal if you know there are lady soldiers in the unit.
7 posted on 10/19/2003 3:03:07 AM PDT by VOA
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To: VOA
—
This actually is some sort of HTML typo that stands for a hyphen!

Sorry for the confusion...
8 posted on 10/19/2003 3:11:04 AM PDT by VOA
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To: VOA
What if you don't know anyone personally, but would like to send something anyway?

Carolyn

9 posted on 10/19/2003 3:26:07 AM PDT by CDHart
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To: VOA
I had sent several packages in the spring, and was thinking of it again. I'm sure the needs have changed. Someone told me they could use tan/brown/green mufflers, wool socks and long underwear because it gets very cold there. Is this true? What else do they need now?
10 posted on 10/19/2003 5:33:03 AM PDT by sneakers
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub; VOA; CDHart
If you don't have a name and address, here is an idea for ya!

SOS: Support Our Troops Operation Gratitude: Sending Care Packages To
U.S. Troops"
Toogood Reports via FR
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/991246/posts

: "When troops are out in remote places, they don't have access to
: news on a regular basis and rumors abound," says retired Army
: National Guard Brig. Gen. Michael R. S. Teilman, who now heads the
: Bob Hope Hollywood USO. "They hear about protest marches, the
: president getting lambasted, and they don't know if there is going
: to be a backlash when they get home, like there was after Vietnam."

: It's no wonder the troops are confused, with negative coverage in
: the media exceeding positive coverage ten to one, and the patriotic
: fervor of 9/11 quickly slipping into the apathetic languor that
: preceded that defining moment in history. Despite the negative media
: coverage and political bickering, Americans overwhelmingly support
: their individual troops and one woman in Encino, California is
: determined to make sure they receive that message loud and clear.
: Carolyn Blashek, ex-lawyer/teacher and proud mother, has personally
: sent almost 600 care packages to soldiers in the Middle East. Filled
: with toiletries, snacks, games, movies and personal letters of
: support, these packages have a huge impact on the lives of these
: soldiers. Although steadfast in their loyalty to their country, one
: soldier's uncertainty shows between the lines.

: "All the soldiers here are very happy to receive letters and
: anything that is a sign of support for our effort," writes the
: thankful SPC. "You at Operation Gratitude have made a difference in
: our lives and we are grateful as well. We are determined to
: accomplish our mission here even more, because we know America cares
: about us. God bless America."

: Boosting morale. That's what motivates this human dynamo, Carolyn
: Blashek, to keep sending packages and letters of support overseas. A
: product of the Vietnam Era, this 48 year old, two-mile-a-day-runner
: tried to join the Army Reserves after September 11, but was politely
: turned down for being about a decade over age. Undaunted, Carolyn
: signed on as a volunteer at the Bob Hope Hollywood USO where she
: lent a sympathetic ear to anxious troops headed overseas. Her
: encounter with one young man was soon to change the course of her
: life. About to return to Korea after attending his mother's funeral,
: an Army officer wished to speak to a chaplain. Unable to find one on
: short notice, the officer asked if he could talk to Carolyn instead.

: "His mother had just died, and his wife had left him years ago,"
: Carolyn said. "He said he didn't have any other relatives. Then he
: just broke down, started crying and said, 'I don't know if I will
: return alive, and it won't matter to anybody.' After he left, I
: wondered how many other servicemen and women feel that they have
: nobody. And if that's the case, where do they find the strength to
: survive the difficulties they face in battle?"

: Out of that void came the birth of Operation Gratitude (a 501(c)(3)
: non-profit corporation).

: Aided by donations from local businesses and other interested
: parties, Carolyn sent her first four packages to a predominately
: female Army unit based in the Kuwaiti desert, desperately in need of
: feminine hygiene products, toiletries and encouragement. From that
: initial four-box-a-month order, Operation Gratitude now sends
: 160-175 boxes a month to grateful troops. As with any successful
: endeavor, this one has changed over time. In the beginning, the
: front line troops needed basic things like shampoo, lotion and
: toothbrushes. Now that base camps with commissaries have been
: established in most areas, Carolyn is receiving more requests for
: entertaining items such as DVDs, books and the all important
: morale-boosting letters.

: Many of the soldiers are now asking for items to give to the Iraqi
: children and families who have befriended them in their distant
: outposts. They want candy, clothing and toys for the children and
: they want to share American foods with the Iraqi families who treat
: them to dinner in their own homes on a weekly basis. If there is
: anything that frustrates Carolyn about this business, it's the lack
: of media coverage for the positive things that are happening in
: Iraq. Without fail, she says, the soldiers have been welcomed with
: open arms and hailed as liberators rather than occupiers. They have
: become part of the lives of the citizens they are liberating, often
: attending community events and ground-breaking efforts such as
: democratic elections and the formation of schools. Unsure of their
: support at home, the soldiers find much solace in the appreciation
: of the Iraqi people.

: Despite it's inflated size, Carolyn still works out of her own
: living room, dining room and recently commandeered college-bound
: daughter's bedroom. This way, she says, she can still keep personal
: control of the project. An expert at procuring and packing the
: requested items, her most difficult challenge is meeting the cost of
: postage. At about $25 per package, the numbers add up pretty quickly
: and donations of any size are greatly appreciated. Carolyn finds
: the time to send a response to each and every donor and helper. It's
: this personal touch that really sets her apart from many other
: organizations. It's all spread by word of mouth, she explains. "Due
: to security issues, the military requires that I address each box to
: a specific service member in a specific location. I get these names
: from company commanders, chaplains, fellow soldiers, relatives and
: friends. I always welcome more names and can receive that
: information through my website,Operation Gratitude. Give me a name
: and a request and I'll see that they get a package."

: It's that simple. And it is the thought that counts.

: For more information contact: Operation Gratitude Carolyn Blashek
: 16444 Refugio Road Encino, California 91436 USA
: Telephone: 818-789-0123 Fax: 818-789-0563 E-Mail: cblashek@aol.com
: or opgratitude2003@aol.com

: Website:Operation Gratitude
: http://www.opgratitude.com
11 posted on 10/19/2003 6:22:22 AM PDT by TruthNtegrity (God bless America, God bless President George W. Bush and God bless our Military!)
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To: VOA
BTTT
12 posted on 10/19/2003 6:22:51 AM PDT by TruthNtegrity (God bless America, God bless President George W. Bush and God bless our Military!)
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub
Thanks for your service! Thanks for your pint list.

See Operation SOS above!
13 posted on 10/19/2003 6:23:34 AM PDT by TruthNtegrity (God bless America, God bless President George W. Bush and God bless our Military!)
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To: CDHart
Please see my answer in post #11.
14 posted on 10/19/2003 6:25:22 AM PDT by TruthNtegrity (God bless America, God bless President George W. Bush and God bless our Military!)
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To: VOA
Bump for gifts for the ladies - much needed feminine products, expecially where there is no PX!
15 posted on 10/19/2003 6:27:02 AM PDT by TruthNtegrity (God bless America, God bless President George W. Bush and God bless our Military!)
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To: VOA
Point 8: Hide a bible somewhere in the package.
16 posted on 10/19/2003 6:46:49 AM PDT by Plumrodimus
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To: sneakers
Someone told me they could use tan/brown/green mufflers, wool socks and long underwear because it gets very cold there. Is this true? What else do they need now?

Its true it gets cold, at least to them! They have been use to 120/130 degree days when it dips into the 70/80's it feels cold to them.
White/Black/Green cotton socks are still the best bet. Lightweight Blankets/Flannel sheets are good.
Other requested items include Advil or other headache medicine, cold/sinus medicine, kleenex.
17 posted on 10/19/2003 6:52:29 AM PDT by boxerblues (If you can read this.. Thank a Teacher..If you can read this in English ..Thank a US Soldier)
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To: VOA
Bump
18 posted on 10/19/2003 7:07:13 AM PDT by Valin (I have my own little world, but it's okay - they know me here.)
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To: VOA; TruthNtegrity
Thanks to both of you for posting all of this information. I've been thinking I wanted to do something for the troops; here's my opportunity.
19 posted on 10/19/2003 7:48:54 AM PDT by sunshine state
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To: CDHart
Carolyn,

Could you ping me if you get an answer to this question?

"What if you don't know anyone personally, but would like to send something anyway?"

Thanks.
20 posted on 10/19/2003 8:34:25 AM PDT by Let's Roll (And those that cried Appease! Appease! are hanged by those they tried to please!")
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub
BTTT
21 posted on 10/19/2003 8:44:41 AM PDT by LifeIzGood
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To: VOA; 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub; MJY1288; Calpernia; Grampa Dave; anniegetyourgun; ...
Thanks, VOA! Thanks for the ping, Tonkin. Just got two boxes ready to send off.

More good news for our clothing drive for the troops at ARCENT. Larry Brewer, the decent and patriotic program manager at WMMB1240 talk radio, Melbourne, Fla., invited Brenda from sosopsministry@bellsouth.net on to talk about her care package drive efforts for the troops. A listener then phoned her and offered 500 T-shirts for the troops!

Giving them both a free plug for pure joy. (^;

Ping for Holiday mailing tips!

 Thanks, Tonkin!

If you want on or off my Pro-Coalition ping list, please Freepmail me. Warning: it is a high volume ping list on good days. (Most days are good days).

22 posted on 10/19/2003 8:55:31 AM PDT by Ragtime Cowgirl ( I am very optimistic that the fruits of our labor will pay huge dividends in the future.~ Gen Myers)
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To: sneakers
I'm sure the needs have changed. Someone told me they could use tan/brown/green mufflers,
wool socks and long underwear because it gets very cold there. Is this true?
What else do they need now?


I'm glad that you reminded me of the "temperature factor", which I hadn't talked
about with my service-person in Baghdad because I had only sent non-perishables
(school/stationery supplies).

By "surfing" this route "Yahoo->Weather->Middle East->Iraq, I got to a list of
cities in Iraq at this URL:
http://weather.yahoo.com/regional/IZXX.html

After checking Baghdad, Basra, and Mosul, I was a bit suprised to see that
these major cities are still locked in a cycle of daily highs in the mid 90s, cooling
to mid 60s at night. Just about what you get in Los Angeles during the warm days
of August...and definitely NOT the sort of high temps for shipping "meltable"
goodies like chocolate! (I would guess).

Here is my GUESS:
I suppose there would be areas of Iraq with higher elevations (and lower daily
high temps), but I suspect that anything beyond light sweaters, gloves or cap
(for evening cool) would be a ways down the wish list...unless you find a soldier
in an area (e.g., Afghanistan) that actually will anticipate a need for cold-weather gear.


Thanks for bringing up the topic.
While my experience has been "Iraqi-centric", I posted my simple care-package instructions
hoping to "grease the skids" for folks to send packages to our service-people serving
in about 160 countries through-out the world.
While we need to be good to the 130,000 US personnel sweating it out in Iraq and
those in the hot zones of Afghanistan...I posted my Quick Guide to encourage
those who may have a friend or relative that will be doing Thanksgiving,
Christmas and New Years Eve in any of the thousands of "nowhere" places where
our best and brightest are serving.


Sneakers, thanks for checking in and tell your friends and neighbors that
"It's Time To Stand and Deliver".
23 posted on 10/19/2003 8:59:49 AM PDT by VOA
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To: Ragtime Cowgirl; snippy_about_it; bentfeather
Holiday Care Packages Bump
24 posted on 10/19/2003 9:04:43 AM PDT by SAMWolf (Poverty begins at home.)
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To: TruthNtegrity
It's that simple. And it is the thought that counts.

TruthNtegrity,
Thanks for posting the additional information...I was hoping that this thread
would bring all sorts of helpful information that would help push the hearts and
brains of our citizens to "Stand and Deliver" in a timely manner.

And as I finally said in an earlier post: while I hope lots of good materiale
is sent to our best and brightest in the hot zones of Iraq and Afghanistan,
a care package to some soldier who is probably feeling lonely in some "nowhere" place
(especially some remote stateside location) needs to be sent...AND SOON!
25 posted on 10/19/2003 9:05:12 AM PDT by VOA
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub
Support Our Troops ~ Bump!
26 posted on 10/19/2003 9:12:14 AM PDT by blackie
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To: CDHart
What if you don't know anyone personally, but would like to send something anyway?

1. TruthNtegrity has a good alternative in post #11.

2. And I can shamelessly point you to a list of the best and brightest from my
old hometown that is maintained by my old hometown paper (www.poncacitynews.com)
Just go to the list at "Project Hometown Spirit" at this URL:
http://www.poncacity.com/spirit/list.asp

Just scroll down the list and let your heart pick out a service-person. Don't worry if your
selection method seems frivolous, random and unscientific.
Maybe you'll pick someone who is serving in a location you've visited, or a place
you've always wondered about.
And maybe you'll pick out a female service-person because maybe (UNINTENTIONALLY of course)
our tough good-guys are getting all the attention.

Don't bother yourself about who you pick and where they are...but just pick someone
and even if money is an issue, just send a holiday card with a good quality
international calling card. Even if it turns out they can't use the card where they
are, your service person will have something to "re-gift" to a comrade who's
going on leave...

Just do it!
27 posted on 10/19/2003 9:18:07 AM PDT by VOA
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To: TruthNtegrity
Bump for gifts for the ladies - much needed feminine products, expecially where there is no PX!

bump for further public notice...
28 posted on 10/19/2003 9:18:55 AM PDT by VOA
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To: Plumrodimus
Point 8: Hide a bible somewhere in the package.

Although I can't speak with authority, my reading of the regulations/restrictions
allows for you to send religional material (e.g., a Holy Bible) to a service-person
"for personal use".
This appears to be true even for Afghanistan or Iraq.

I think the points are:
1. follow the rules so the host country won't shut down the gift pipeline
2. be discrete about shipping materials that might offend the sensibilities of
people in the host countries...that's why I sent a 2004 calendar with photos
from our National Parks...no girls in bikinis! (as much as they'd be appreciated by
the service-people and some honest Iraqi males!)

So, if you stick to something like a Bible and maybe a religional-content book or novel,
things would probably be cool.
But I suspect that a large box filled with religious tracts would either get dumped
in the trash at customs and/or get your service-person some unpleasant Q and A time with
some officers and postal inspectors.
29 posted on 10/19/2003 9:25:45 AM PDT by VOA
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub
Thanks for the heads up Tonk. Bookmarking for future refrence.
30 posted on 10/19/2003 9:29:03 AM PDT by amom
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To: boxerblues
Its true it gets cold, at least to them! They have been use to 120/130 degree days when
it dips into the 70/80's it feels cold to them. White/Black/Green cotton socks
are still the best bet. Lightweight Blankets/Flannel sheets are good.

Other requested items include Advil or other headache medicine, cold/sinus medicine, kleenex.


boxerblues,
I've re-posted your comment...it is a great improvement on my speculations
on the "temperature factor" in post #23.

I've got to admit I was suprised that the daytime highs in most big Iraqi cities
is still in the mid-90s. But I guess that goes with the territory when you're in
a desert country!
31 posted on 10/19/2003 9:29:54 AM PDT by VOA
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To: VOA
Thanks for this posting! I for one am very appreciative of posts of this type. Because of comments by others on this site, I had absolutely zero problems sending my first package to my "adopted soldier" The one item I did not know about was the customs form, but the post office personnel were great in helping me to get it done correctly. I took special note of the words to put on the customs form and will do that next time -- the Christmas package.

I've been running through ideas of what to send that might be special for him for Christmas. I'll take suggestions if you have any -- different than the ones already posted. My daughter suggested putting in a gift for another soldier that my adopted soldier could give to someone else who isn't getting much mail from home. I plan to do that.

Has anyone gotten mail where the soldiers have specifically asked for some specific items? If so, please post.

32 posted on 10/19/2003 9:37:03 AM PDT by BushisTheMan
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To: Let's Roll; CDHart
Could you ping me if you get an answer to this question?

Please see posts #11 and #27. (I shamelessly promote a list of my hometown boys/girls
and their military addresses in the lower part of post #27).

Although I didn't explicity say it at the start of the thread...don't worry about
your own personal method for selecting a service-person to mail to.
The important thing is to pick someone, no matter how you pick.
Then, mail something, even if it's a supportive holiday card (hopefully you'll be
able to toss in a $10 or $20 international calling card).

Regardless of what you can send, even just a card and a brief, honest expression
of support and good wishes will do wonders.
Having dithered over mailing something for the past three months, I can personally
give you the take-home message:

JUST DO IT!

I hope this copyright violation doesn't get Mr. Robinson and me sued...
33 posted on 10/19/2003 9:37:13 AM PDT by VOA
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To: SAMWolf
Holiday Care Packages Bump

thanks-for-checking in bump!
34 posted on 10/19/2003 9:38:46 AM PDT by VOA
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To: LifeIzGood
thanks-for-the-bump bump!
35 posted on 10/19/2003 9:41:22 AM PDT by VOA
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To: SAMWolf; Ragtime Cowgirl; VOA
From my own experience let me say BEEF JERKY is the way to go, they love it. Another is cigarettes and/or cigars. Now some folks may be against that but if you do decide you want to provide them, even if your person doesn't smoke they can give them to someone who does or use them for bartering purposes. I did not include these on my custom slip, nor any pork items. They frown on that so they just never made my itemized list.

Pretzel sticks and chip dip are good and do make the trip if wrapped well. Boxes of fruit drink are good but be forwarned they do make the box weigh a lot, they're quite heavy. Tunafish in the non perishable tear open packages or pop top cans with crackers an the small fruit cups with pop top cans is also a welcome treat. If sending these food items it doesn't hurt to remember some plastic utensils to go in the package as well as napkins.

A new wash cloth and towell are always appreciated, especially to ground troops. Toothbrushes, toothpaste, all the necessary toiletry items.

No matter what I sent my customs slip always said it was a gift and the itemized list was always beef jerky, stationary and toiletries. Just keep it simple. :)
36 posted on 10/19/2003 9:43:25 AM PDT by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: snippy_about_it
Thanks for the advise Snippy. I send packages of the moist towellettes, but they tend to get heavy if you pack more than 5 or 6 packs to a box. I was able to buy them in bulk and the first time I put 24 packs in one box, the postage cost more than the towellettes.
37 posted on 10/19/2003 9:50:05 AM PDT by SAMWolf (Poverty begins at home.)
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To: BushisTheMan
Has anyone gotten mail where the soldiers have specifically asked for some
specific items? If so, please post.


You might run across some extra suggestions by just clicking the keyword "CAREPACKAGES"
at the bottom of my initial post for this thread. That would get you to archived threads
that have some suggestions, although some are from the spring.

I can only speak for my single (so far) care package experience. The person
I sent the packages only asked for school supplies (with a small list) for
the Iraqi elementary school his unit is adopting.
I fulfilled his requests...but I suspect that this fellow (an Army Chaplain) is telling
me a manly little white lie.
I suspect he's following perhaps the proudest tradition of the US Military: taking
about anything handed to him and giving most or all to the struggling civilians and
subdued former enemy.
So, at least in my case, I first met the stated needs.
But I do intend to send one package (maybe one out of four total) that will
be nothing but goodies for the soldiers...with a declaration that the goodies
are a free gift to use as they see fit.
I don't want some soldier to feel a bit guilty when he hands the sweets I send to
some Iraqi kid he meets in the streets.
38 posted on 10/19/2003 9:51:19 AM PDT by VOA
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To: snippy_about_it
No matter what I sent my customs slip always said it was a gift and the itemized list
was always beef jerky, stationary and toiletries. Just keep it simple. :)


Thanks for checking in with the good suggestions.
Especially the one about keeping things simple.

My "Quick Guide" (that started the thread) was aimed at simplicity, but I did compromise
because I wanted everyone to get all the necessary details and basically tell them
"You can do it! So now, JUST DO IT!"
I got bogged down in the summer over a lot of conflictory details on care packages...
I just hoped to boil things down to the essential and help others avoid the
hole I stepped in during the summer.
39 posted on 10/19/2003 9:55:53 AM PDT by VOA
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To: blackie
thanks-for-the-bump bump!
40 posted on 10/19/2003 9:56:45 AM PDT by VOA
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To: VOA
Already I've copied over several suggestions that I plan to use:

I always send him American food/candy/cookies and various types of toiletries. However, for the Christmas package, I wanted something taht I can wrap in Christmas paper for him to open or to give to his friends, if he so chooses. I might just stick in Xmas paper, Scotch tape, and ribbon so he can wrap his gifts too.

Thanks to everyone for the great suggestions.

41 posted on 10/19/2003 10:03:03 AM PDT by BushisTheMan
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To: snippy_about_it
Another very much appreciated item is bug spray or lotion.

My nephew in Baghdad also requests snacks and hard candy. He says they don't always make it in the best condition but they taste the same so he doesn't care.

He also requests specific books, CDs, and DVDs (we sent him a portable DVD player).

Books and magazines are good for trading once the service person is done with them.

42 posted on 10/19/2003 10:06:43 AM PDT by NEPA
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To: VOA
Luckily, I was able to exchange e-mails with a Chaplin in Baghdad and thus he gave
me a prioritized list of school supplies his unit needs to help their adopted elementary school


Just to update...
I e-mailed the Chaplain (sp!) yesterday that I'd mailed his requested supplies.
He has already sent me a short e-mail thank you and an attached photo of the Iraqi
students standing in front of their school.

Just for the interests of full disclosure, folks know I've been honest (and sometimes
blunt) in expressing my feelings that Islam is a real problem.
But at the same time, the "love your neighbor" and "love your enemy" themes
are great themes of this country, regardless of where you stand on "church and state".

Anyway, I just wanted to mention this so that when fellow freepers see me criticizing
Islam/Muslims on some other thread, you'll know that while I have mixed emotions
on the topic,
I'm not a hypocrite for sending supplies that I truly hope will do good for
children and teachers in a broken, but rebuilding, country.
43 posted on 10/19/2003 10:10:16 AM PDT by VOA
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To: NEPA
Please pass along a big THANK YOU to your nephew for his service. :)
44 posted on 10/19/2003 10:14:25 AM PDT by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: NEPA
Books and magazines are good for trading once the service person is done with them.

Thanks for checking in with suggestions.
And backing up my assertion that all our good posters/lurkers not spend great
time/energy picking out a service-person or the type of items they send...
because the US Military is the biggest force of "re-gifters" history
has ever seen.

If they can't use what they receive, they'll find someone who can!!!

So, that's why I keep telling folks to "JUST DO IT!"
(and don't be a slug like I was!)
45 posted on 10/19/2003 10:16:15 AM PDT by VOA
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To: amom
thanks-for-the-bump bump
46 posted on 10/19/2003 10:17:58 AM PDT by VOA
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To: NEPA
He also requests specific books, CDs, and DVDs (we sent him a portable DVD player).

Wow. I almost get a little drippy thinking about watching "It's A Wonderful Life"
during a holiday season posted overseas...
There's a reason to pack some hankies in the box...
47 posted on 10/19/2003 10:20:22 AM PDT by VOA
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To: BushisTheMan; VOA
Has anyone gotten mail where the soldiers have specifically asked for some specific items? If so, please post.

I have but it has always been pretty specific, like peppermint tea, gummy bears and stationary for three particular troops I sent to.

What I find works is just going through the grocery thinking about what I'd like to have out there, knowing the limits of the facilities.

This is how I came up with the boxed drinks and small cans of fruit and applesauce.

Oh, I also had a request for saltines specifically.

The snack "combos" those little hard pizza roll up snacks travel well as does peanut butter and jelly, get plastice jars.

Some of these things add weight but it is worth the extra cost if you can afford it.

Good luck.

48 posted on 10/19/2003 10:23:44 AM PDT by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: snippy_about_it
This is how I came up with the boxed drinks

Thanks for the great list of specific suggestions.

One question about boxed (fruit) drinks:
Are packets of Kool-Aid (with artificial sweetner so sugar isn't needed) acceptable
as a light-weight alternative to shipping relatively the boxed drinks
(which are relatively heavy due to the water content?

Just wondering if there is some drawback to the light packets of Kool-Aid,
e.g., lack of decent water supply on the ground.
49 posted on 10/19/2003 10:48:02 AM PDT by VOA
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To: VOA
As long as they have water available I'm sure it's a good idea. They can pour some in their bottled water and make it taste even better!

Good thinking!
50 posted on 10/19/2003 11:06:25 AM PDT by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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