Military members also enjoy care packages

March 03, 2006|by KRISTIN WILSON

College students aren't the only people who pine for care packages from home.

Members of the military, whether deployed overseas or on duty at a state-side base, appreciate care packages and the comfort they can bring.

"My daughter said it felt like Christmas every time she got a package," said Lynn Jones of Keedysville. Her daughter spent eight months with the 82nd Airborne Division in Iraq from 2003 to 2004. Jones is also a member of the South Washington County Military Support Group that sends care packages and cards to deployed troops.

For deployed servicemen and servicewomen, care packages often play an important role in providing the extras they cannot get while on duty.


"There are actually a lot of troops deployed to remote areas right now, especially Afghanistan," Jones said. "They are not in a position to reach a military (post exchange), so they depend on what people are able to send them."

Specific brands of personal hygiene products, such as body wash, toothpaste and deodorant might be on a soldier's wish list, as well as convenience food, snacks and forms of entertainment.

"When they are not on patrol and not sleeping, there's not much for them to do," Jones said.

Military support groups are always looking for donations to help send care packages to deployed members of the military, and many Web sites can link civilians with soldiers who would like to receive packages, Jones said.

Guidelines for sending packages to soldiers can be found online or by contacting military support groups. Flammable, corrosive or toxic items are prohibited. Explosives such as fireworks are out. Do not send perfume, colognes, hairspray, matches, butane, shaving cream or anything found in an aerosol can, and do not send alcohol or any materials that could be considered offensive.

Operation Gratitude is a nonprofit organization that sends care packages to deployed service members. Here's a list of items ideal for military care packages recommended by the organization and by members of the South Washington County Military Support Group:

  • Entertainment items - DVDs and CDs, LEGOs, cards and handheld portable games. Some deployed soldiers are allowed to have portable DVD players, and many soldiers have portable CD players. Soldiers enjoy receiving the latest DVD or CD since it is something that they probably could not purchase otherwise, Jones said.

  • Stay-in-touch gifts - Disposable cameras and prepaid phone cards help soldiers stay in touch with loved ones.

  • Food and snacks - Individually wrapped food products are the best for deployed soldiers. Trail mix, beef jerky, nuts, energy bars and ready-to-eat tuna or chicken salad kits are good options. Packets of powdered drink mix, instant coffee or tea bags also are ideal.

  • Personal care items - Travel-size toiletries, hand sanitizer, lip balm and feminine products are appreciated care-package items.

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