A great way to show your appreciation and support for the men and women who are overseas in combat is to send them care packages. Even if you do not personally know somebody who has been deployed, it is still a great opportunity to help someone out. It is also a great opportunity to show your kids about volunteering and the sacrifice that people in the military make.
Plan and Organize
Before you send a care package though, you need to keep some things in mind. If you have a specific person in mind, you should first establish exactly what they want or need. Check the restrictions that apply to items you can send through the mail. It is also important to plan ahead, as it usually takes more time to for a package to arrive overseas. Check with the postal service to see how long it will take as this can vary and may take up to two weeks, even with priority mail. If the person is stationed very far away, then it may take even longer for them to receive your package.
Packing and Shipping
Another consideration is the size of the package. The postal service has size restrictions for packages, the maximum circumference of a given package is 108 inches. Even if this is the case, you should realize that the military may also limit the size of packages. This is why it is suggested that an individual package be no bigger than a shoebox.
Always try to use recyclable packaging materials such as plastic ziplock bags which the service member can then reuse. You can use newspaper or tissues to surround and protect any fragile items that you pack. You should definitely not send perishables, especially when its intended destination is to somebody stationed in a country where the temperatures regularly reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.
There are certainly some good ideas of non-perishable food and drink. One good suggestion is powdered drink mix that can be added to water. Service men and women also get tired of eating MREs (Meal Ready-to-Eat), so you can ship items that would give them some flavor and variety; an example of what you can send is Ramen noodles or various relish packets like salts and spices. Additionally, you can include toiletries and various items that you know they will enjoy such as reading material, board games, or crossword puzzles.
Be very careful when writing the address on the package that you do not make a mistake and that you include all the relevant information. There also tend to be cut off dates during holiday times. In fact, you can find these dates at the post office. They can tell you what the last date is for posting a package if you want it to arrive on Christmas day for instance. Once again, be aware that when you are mailing a package overseas that it is less reliable and that the package may still arrive late.