Skip to comments.CARE PACKAGES for our Troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, 2006
Posted on 01/21/2006 3:06:06 PM PST by patriciaruth
Welcome to the 2006 thread of the Merry Band of Patriots!
Our grassroots, volunteer group of troop supporters has been sending care packages to servicemen and women in war zones since the summer of 2001 when we began by sending VHS movies and Snickers candy bars to the 101st Airborne and then later the 10th Mountain at Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo.
This last year we sent a couple hundred care packages to troops at Baghdad, Kirkuk, Mosul and Tal Afar in Iraq, at Bagram in Afghanistan, at Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo and to our wounded at Landstuhl Regional Hospital in Germany.
Our specialty in the past has been movies, books, snacks, holiday decorations and some appliances like DVD players and Playstations, and we have sent hundreds of movies to various bases.
This last year we had 6 main projects in addition to the usual care packages:
1. We sent over 80 state-of-the-art Petzl headlamps to our adopted company of Stryker Brigade Combat Team at Mosul and 35 to an MI unit at Kirkuk. This was probably the most appreciated item we've ever sent, thanks to a project that got off the ground due to the work of Spanaway Lori, HannaUSA , and Oatka and 3/4th of which was funded by my optometrist.
2. There was the Personal Care items "Emergency" Airlift to Bagram air base in June and July. (mathluv, nina0113, Coop, JustAmy, airborne, iceskater, Tunehead54, jtill participated.)
3. The 4th of July Party Decorations and Snacks blowout for all our adopted units. (pictures at posts 357, 358, 368 of our 2005 thread)
4. Operation Popcorn in August and September for the Engineers at Baghdad (iceskater, mathluv, SENClander, Coop, Abigail Adams, Ros42, Ican'tbelieve it, jtill and ebay's mshoponline sent over 600 bags of microwave popcorn, while omegatoo's were lost in the shuffle of her evacuating New Orleans prior to the Katrina flooding)
5. The End of Summer Luau for psyops at Baghdad in September and October (MJY1288 mailed off the party things we bought at eBay and Amazon with contributions from fanfan, kattracks, jtill, Just mythoughts, Ros42, Pig Rigger, MJY1288 and Kitty Mittens. Pictures at post 809 of the 2005 thread)
6. Halloween candy and movies for the Troops (kattracks, SENClander, Ican'tbelieveit, Abigail Adams mailed boxes in addition to the ones I sent with donations)
7. The Amazing Christmas and New Years Deluge, when it rained packages at all our adopted bases, especially at Tal Afar.
Special mentions go to Teams captains: mathluv (Engineers Baghdad), Ros42 (psyops Baghdad), CAluvdubya (Tal Afar), Abigail Adams (Stryker at Mosul), VeniVidiVici (MI at Kirkuk), nina0113 (Bagram, Afghanistan). Fairy Godmother Dept. (kattracks), Christmas Trees and Christmas Cards R Us (daybreakcoming), Shipping Dept (MJY1288), DVD Recording Dept (MJY1288), Webhosting and Photoshopping Dept (New Perspective), Daddy Warbucks Dept (my optometrist).
Among the many care packages sent by our troop supporters are these projects.
Boxes of school supplies for Iraqi children were sent by mathluv, Ican'tbelieveit, and my mother to Operation Crayon in Kirkuk.
Some members (CAluvdubya, angelsonmyside, 4integrity, ebay's susiemck) helped fill requests for Western Movies from an MI unit at Kirkuk (now home, movies still there) and Clint Eastwood and Adam Sandler movies from Fox Battery at Kirkuk (now home, movies still there).
bjcintennesse made many dozens of cooling neck scarves and sent them to pysops and Engineers at Baghdad.
DAVEY CROCKETT mailed boxesful of car magazines to a couple units.
A copy of the hardback book about the first year of the Revolutionary War (1776 by David McCullough) was sent to most of our units by DrDeb, iceskater, SwatTeam, and Just a Cowgirl.
Ros42 and mscht adopted a unit at Camp Ramadi for Christmas. (picture at 1195 of the 2005 thread).
CheneyChick and daybreakcoming saw to it that some care packages went to a remnant of our troops still in Kosovo.
Daybreakcoming's sister helped the staffers of the Louisiana legislature send about 8 boxes with around 32 bags of Christmas candy to Tal Afar.
Our many generous donors of checks, cash, money orders, Paypal, shopping cards, phone cards, etc are listed in the Accounting posts in our 2005 thread which can be linked from the post below.
We were surprised and emotional when we received back from our adopted units some of the items pictured below, and a big thank you to jkphoto for taking the pictures and webhosting them.
Patty, does this mean we should hold off on packages for Mosul? I have two Valentine's Day boxes ready to go to Tal Afar and was going prepare the same for Mosul.
Thank you for all that you do! My assistant has a daughter that was very recently with the 101st and she mentioned CARE packages from home and how wonderful they are. Thankfully, she is home now, but is probably going to reenlist. She says the job isn't done.
No, send the boxes to our adopted company at Mosul as planned.
We are going to take on another company of Stryker in a few weeks when they are settled in their new location and send them the bulk of our Mosul packages in the future.
We have lost contact with Battery at Kirkuk. Never did get a contact to replace the one that went home. So this additional Stryker unit will replace them.
Would you like to go on the ping list so you can follow our activities and see some of the emails and pictures we get back from the war zones?
Typically they move us quickly to vanities, so we "go dark" soon after the thread is posted.
In spite of that, there are about 250 or so on the ping list. And not everyone who has sent care packages through the Merry Band of Patriots is a FReeper.
I find it very rewarding being a part of this. I hope you will, too. Welcome!
Thanks. There are many here who support the troops. I'm just getting my feet wet and trying to help out.
1. cardboard cans (like drink mix and nuts come in) can break open around the bottom/top where it is sealed to the metal bottom. You need to reinforce them with wide packing tape.
2. powders, etc need to be placed in ziplock bags so they dont contaminate other items if they leak.
3. Dont pack food or mouth care products with anything that can contaminate it if it breaks or leaks.
4. VHS movies: Sand is a problem with VCR machines in Iraq, so we are no longer sending VHS movies there. If you want to send a DVD movie, please check with patriciaruth for the Masterlist of what has already been sent or requested.
Packing the bags of microwave popcorn is easier if you remove from the boxes or cartons they come in. Generally you can get a carton of 28 bags of microwave popcorn in a 5x8x11 flat rate priority box if you pack this way.
If you want, you can line the box with a garbage bag and pack your bags of popcorn inside the bag and then tie the bag. The bags of popcorn come in their own cellophane sealed bags, so this is just belt and suspenders if you do this.
You can fit 3 stacks of popcorn bags in each 5x8x11 box. If you check which long edge of the microwave bags have the most kernels settled in them, and you alternate these sides, then you can make eight bags in a stack. Any extras you have can be shoved down between the stacks.
IF YOU WANT you can put some bonus treat in the small hole left in one corner after packing your box. But DONT put anything liquid, breakable, or not ingestible (toothpaste and floss and mouth care products are okay). Im often pack gum in ziplock bags in these holes. Some one else is puts TicTacs. But simple crumpled paper is okay, too, to stuff the hole to prevent shifting of the end stack of popcorn. DONt put anything that can melt from April through October, like chocolate.
6. CHOCOLATE and items that can melt are generally not sent during April through midOctober. Even hard candy in cellophane wraps can melt into a solid mass while sitting on hot tarmacs. If you include items that can melt, even during the rest of year, it is best to put them in ziplock bags so they dont spoil other items if they melt.
7. GAMES for computers. List them on the customs form as DVD movies to lower the risk of theft. And always insure DVD games and movies when you send them.
8. FRAGRANT ITEMS, like soap, air freshener strips, some deodorants, etc. If you mail them with food items, the food can end up inedible due to being impregnated with the perfume odor. Separating fragrant items into a separate box can solve this problem. Also, some dried fruits, especially whole figs, will give off a RIPENING GAS and odor, enough to burst the bag they are in. The gas can then permeate and ruin the flavor of all the rest of the food items.
BOXES (and other supplies you will need):
You dont have to pack in the flat rate priority boxes (5x8x11) you get from the post office, but it is simpler--and with few exceptions, cheaper to do so. You pay at the time of mailing, $8.10 per box regardless of weight, as long as the box is squarely shut, and not bulging. To order 25 flat rate priority boxes (5x8x11) delivered to your home within 10 days, call 1-800-527-1950 before 5 pm EST Mon-Fri.
Also you will need customs forms from the post office, one for each box. Its a good idea to get one or two extra in case you mess one up.
You will need a wide roll of clear packing/shipping tape. The stronger tapes are much easier to use (brand names Scotch and Duck) and a roll of strapping tape is nice (Walmart carries a roll of Scotch wide strapping tape on a red plaster roller with a cutting edge for $1.98).
To prepare your box for packing you need to open it (as it comes flat) and check which is the bottom side so you can tape it shut (as squarely as you are able), small flaps inside, large flaps outside. The top has a place for the address label printed with TO:
This is hard to do by yourself without getting the tape stuck to itself, so you may want to ask for help for someone to hold the bottom flaps squarely against each other before taping it along the seam, no overlap, and as little gap as you can manage.
Cut a piece of tape and hold it ready, and put it down and seal the bottom while someone holds the flaps square against each other, steadying the box on the unfolded flaps of the top side of box, which is steadied on the table or floor where you are working.
You dont have to overlap the end of the box with the tape much, as this is a holder piece of tape, so when you cut this piece, estimate it as a few inches longer than the box length. Youll be sealing up the whole box all around later for final strengthening of these flap closures.
(After taping the bottom, I turn the box over and estimate and cut off one at a time two pieces of tape to seal the inside bottom flaps down as Im in an agricultural area and keeping spiders out is a challenge).
Be sure your contents are listed somewhere (on a piece of paper or on the customs form) before you close and seal each box.
Be sure the top flaps close squarely and level without bulging up and without much gap before you seal them shut as you did the bottom.
Before doing any more taping, label the box.
You can label it with a preprinted form that has the return address on the form, or you can put your return address (handwritten or a little address sticker) in the upper left hand corner of the top of the box.
In the lower right hand corner, use a dark pen or black felt pen (especially for the APO AE number), and starting above and just to the left of the TO: write the name and APO address you have been given.
Take your wide roll of clear tape and cover the return address and the recipient address with clear tape, to prevent smearing and damage in the mail.
If there is food in the box, we also now seal all the sides of the flaps top and bottom with tape to prevent insects and liquid getting in and make it harder to tamper with the package. It's probably a good idea to do this regardless of contents.
You can use the same wide clear tape (or a strapping tape if you have it) to do the final sealing for strength to prevent breaking open in the mail. These two final seals are both all away around in the middle both ways, like ribbon on a gift package. If you are strapping a bigger box, then consider using two separate ribbons of tape around the top, and even one horizontally around the side of the box, depending on the weight inside and the strength of the box.
And a "huge thank you" back to you for directing this effort. Not only are we giving what we can to support our troops, we are involving our children by showing them that there is no way too small to honor our heroes. I remember someone whose little grandsons shared their basket of goodies with the troops last year.
If your Girl Scout cookie boxes fit into flat rate priority boxes (5x8x11), then it is $8.10 to mail a box regardless of weight.
Last year a group at Microsoft sponsored sending around 100 boxes of Girl Scout cookies to Stryker Brigade at Mosul. They had them shipped to one of our members on the East Coast where the priority shipping rate is cheapest for large boxes and paid her for the postage (or they tried to, I don't know if she accepted it).
Brad Cloven spearheaded that effort from Microsoft and Mo1 was the one who took them to the post office and did the final mailing.
I'm pinging him along with you for this post. Where is your local guard unit deployed? No doubt they will love getting that many boxes of cookies if you can figure out how to pay for mailing them.
You could also approach your local Rotary or another service organization in your area about covering the mailing costs.
Another thing you can do is charge extra per box to cover your mailing costs.
Thank you, Ros42!
Those Valentine candy bags going to Baghdad sound so lovely!
6 boxes Little Debbie be My Valentine cakes (8 per box), 1 pkg Hershey's Valentine's kisses, 2 pkgs Valentine lollipops, 1 pkg Hershey's hearts, 1 plastic tub sugar hearts, 1 pkg Double Crisp choc. hearts, 1 pkg Peanut Butter hearts, 2 pkgs choc. covered Marshmallow hearts, 2 pkgs Sweethearts, 2 pkgs Mini bears, 3 small traditional Valentines boxes w/ chocolates, 2 pkgs plastic sandwich bags. 1 artificial long stemmed red rose, card.
6 boxes Little Debbie Be My Valentine cakes, 1 plastic tub Jelly hearts, 1 plastic tub Sweethearts, 3 pkgs. Hershey's Val. kisses, 2 pkgs. Val. lollipops, 1 pkg. Hershey's hearts, 1 pkg. Necco sweethearts, 1 pkg. Peanut Butter hearts, 1 pkg.Double Crisp choc. hearts, 2 pkgs Fruit Juice Mini Bears, 1 pkg choc. covered Marshmallow hearts. 1 box Marshmallow hearts, 3 small traditional Valentines boxes w/ chocolates, 2 pkgs. plastic sandwich bags, 1 artificial long stemmed red rose, card.
Wonderful! I am so glad to "see" you!
You are a treasure! The soldiers at Tal Afar are probably going to erect a shrine to their fairy godmother.
It's good to "see" you too.
2 Flat Rate Boxes--Value $75
30 Valentines Bags, with appx. 10 Hershey bars in each, with individual Valentines attached with curled pink & red ribbon
10 Valentines Bags (same as above)
Touching the Void
Thanks Patty :-)
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