Over tears and many deployments, I have been greeted with mail and military care packages from my family, from complete strangers, and from civilian companies. I have received items such as chap stick, sunscreen, razors, soap, beef jerky, and much more. You have no idea what it means to a deployed service member to receive a package in the mail, no matter who it is from or what they receive. The letters that a service member receives while deployed mean as much as a box full of skittles.
On my last deployment, I was amazed at the constant amount of military care packages we had in the barracks, and it seemed like they were endless; every day we received more and more. We would think, “Wow, all this for a small engineering unit in Chillicothe, Ohio?” I guess it does not matter where you’re from, how big the city, or even how much money you have; it is all about the community and the people who are in it. They will support you and your entire company.
The other items that I personally really enjoyed receiving were letters from students in grade schools, middle schools, and high schools because I always felt the honesty and pride the children had in sending out a letter or card to us. My team and I would always take the time to send them thank you cards and letters in return. It has always been important to me as a service member to give back as much as I have received or even more. So, we would usually take an hour during the week to write out thank you cards, and if one particular school had sent stuff, we would all chip in to send a care package to them. As the old saying goes, “it’s better to give than to receive.” If not for strangers out there, some of the soldiers would never receive any mail or packages.
Military Care Packages, What to Send
I cannot begin to count or tell you how many times I have been asked, “What can I send you or what do you need?” My response has always been the same: “thank you, but that is not necessary.” I would tell people that even though it wasn’t necessary, we still really enjoyed receiving certain things. Some good things to send are beef jerky, body wash, toothbrushes, toothpaste, sunscreen, Franks, Red Hots, laundry soap, protein bars, shower shoes, and various snacks. These are some of the the items I would send or would like to receive.
What Not to Send
In my opinion, some of what not to send to troops includes crossword puzzles, sudoku, food that you need a can opener to open it with, alcohol, or adult magazines. There is not a lot of stuff I would say not to send. But I would say if you send anything that is in glass or has a lid, then try putting it in a zip lock bag in case it’s damaged or spills out.
Thank You for Caring
On behalf of all the veterans out there that have received a military care package, letter, or anything similar, we can never say “thank you” enough. If I could, I would meet each of you in person just to say thanks. Unless you have deployed, you will never really know what it really means to us to receive your mail and/or care packages. What you send motivates each of us and brings us closer to home when we are thousands of miles away.