Memorial Day is an important day for Americans. It is the day on which those who died in active military service are remembered. For those who have loved ones actively serving in the military, there is the constant reminder of an empty chair at the dinner table or an empty room in the house, but for others, Memorial Day can be a reminder of those who still serve. In honor of those that serve and the families that miss them, consider doing more than remembering, consider a thoughtful contribution. One great way of contributing, is to send a care package.
You will likely find a number of websites, blogs and social posts with information about what to send, what not to send and even offers to sell you a care package and/or send the items for you. This information is vast and often overwhelming. In this article we will try to simplify things and provide a simple who, what, where & how to send your military care package.
Who to Send to
Everyone loves to receive personal gifts and messages, this is especially true for those far from home for long periods of time. If you have a friend or family member serving in the military, it’s always best to start there. Providing more personal items, such as photos, video or written messages, is a great way to tailor your care package and make your soldier feel closer to home. If you don’t know someone personally, ask friends, family members and coworkers. Service members receiving packages will know they are not forgotten and their family members will appreciate your support.
What to Send
What to send depends on the service member in your life, but we’ve highlighted a few items below that are quite popular according to service members that we have spoken to. Remember to include a simple note of thanks to go with your items.
Prince Performance Quarter Socks with Coolmax® and other high performance socks and underwear will be well received. You may also want to pack duplicate items that can be shared or traded with others. Include items that are packed tightly in weather proof packaging so the items stay fresh and dry. It’s also a good idea to include water proof freezer bags that can be used in the field to hold items and keep them dry. Remember, if you aren’t sure what to send, ask someone who has served in the military. They may be able to think of something unique and surprising that will be a big hit! Just be certain not to include anything that may be offensive to others.
Where to Send
Where is easy, if you have someone specific in mind – speak to them to get the best mailing address. If you do not know a military service man or woman to receive your package, please be careful when working through third party organizations. We recommend that you contact Operation Homefront. Operation Homefront is a nonprofit organization that supports military families and is favorably recognized by the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC), Better Business Bureau (BBB), Charity Navigator (CN), and GuideStar (GS). This organization has a number of options for donating or supporting the military and their families. Although this organization assists military families and not the troops directly, they have several donation and volunteer opportunities to explore. And, what better way to support an active service member than to let him or her know that his family is being taken care of.
How to Send
Before making final decisions about what you want to send, we strongly suggest that you make certain of what you can send. There are some items that are prohibited or have limitations set by the United States Postal Service. For example, you can send a compressed can of shaving cream or lotion but only in small quantities.
We strongly suggest that you request a military care kit from the United States Postal Service. Not only will the postal service provide helpful guidelines for sending your care package, they also provide, boxes, tape, address labels and forms, all to ensure your package arrives safely at its destination. You should also plan ahead, kits sometimes take several days to arrive, especially during popular send times such as Memorial Day and holidays.
Stay safe this Memorial Day weekend and remember those that gave their lives in service to their country. But don’t forget those in active service. When the three day weekend is over, consider putting together a military care package to send to someone that wasn’t able to be home this Memorial Day!
Sources: USPS, Operation Homefront