We are approaching Thanksgiving time, and the time to send care packages to troops for the holidays.
At The Citadel a great volunteer effort was started several years ago to send boxes to deployed cadets and graduates, The Citadel Heroes Project.
I’ve written about this effort before. The time to send donations for their holiday mailing is now. Susie Maghakian of the Krause Leadership Center on campus is the staff coordinator for the project. Theresa Chamberlain is the parent of a graduate and is the current volunteer coordinator of the program.
For a list of suggested items you can visit the Citadel Family Association page for the project, just note that the contact information is out of date for Susie.
Please send your donations of items for the boxes, or a check for the postage made out to The Citadel Heroes Project, to:
Susie Maghakian, Krause Center for Leadership and Ethics, 171 Moultrie Street, The Citadel Station, Charleston, SC 29409
or if you are sending items via UPS or other carrier use the physical address on campus:
Susie Maghakian, Krause Center for Leadership and Ethics, 201 Richardson Ave, 171 Moultrie Street, Charleston, SC 29409
People always ask what should be included in care packages. A general rule is not to send items that have a short shelf life. Mail can be delayed and items like home-baked good soften arrived spoiled.
If you Google “what to send a deployed soldier” quite a few sites with suggestions will pop up. Give 2 the Troops is one of many sites you will find that offer a list of items. I’ll include a few suggestions here, but please note this list is not exhaustive. If you know the person you are sending items to, ask them what they would like and would appreciate. Some units have ready access to day to day items, others do not.
Saran Wrap: I have recently learned that including a roll of saran wrap in a care package could help save a soldier’s life. In a recent email from a Citadel grad who is working as a contractor in Afghanistan he wrote: “Its use would be as an emergency field medical expedient dressing to wrap hastily around the chest of a torso-wounded teammate to prevent death by ‘sucking chest wound.’ Some SF medics I work with have recommended this technique. I’m sure it would have other practical uses as well.”
Snacks: Individual packets of trail mix and nuts, granola bars, protein bars, breakfast bars, fruit leather, jerky, hard candy, chewing gum, small packets of cookies, individual serving containers of noodles. If they have access to a microwave the individual meals are great.
Beverage powder: Individual drink packets to be added to water – all flavors; hot chocolate packets; instant coffee; powdered creamer
Sauces: Dipping sauces from your local fast food store; hot sauces
Non food items: soft toilet paper, baby wipes, Q-Tips, in the winter month hand warmers, disposable razors, feminine hygiene products-if you know there are women in the unit
Personal care items (do not include in the same box as food): shampoo, shaving cream in squeeze tubes, liquid body soap, deodorant, sun screen
Homemade goodies: Cake in a Jar. You can find several recipes for this online. See this link for one recipe.
Other items: School supplies, like pencils, paper, crayons. These items are given to the local school children; wrapped candies
Socks, Underwear, T-Shirts : If you know the soldier and their sizes these items are appreciated. Covert Threads is a great resource for good socks for soldiers. THey have a buy 10 get three free policy which makes the socks even more affordable. It is a great option for groups sending items out.
Take items and individual packets out of the box they came in and put them in a zip lock bag. You can fit more in a care package this way and the ziplock bag can be used for other things once the solder has the box. Plus, they have to burn their trash.
Do not mix scented items with food items.
If you try to send home-baked goods vacuum pack them.
Add some fun items like a deck of cards, photos of friends and family, letters and drawings from children, fun toys from the dollar store to blow off steam
The United States Postal Service has a great webpage with instructions on how to ship to APO/FPO/DPO addresses.
See this list from the USPS of items not to send.
Several organizations support the troops year round. I will list a few here that I have contacted myself:
Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes