I recently celebrated one of my milestone birthdays in the most epic bucket list way—I sent a military care package to a soldier. And let me tell you, it was not just an ordinary celebration; it was an extraordinary way to spread some love and make a difference.
Now, why on earth would I choose to send a military care package, you ask? Well, let me share the magic behind it. It’s all about connecting with the brave souls out there, miles away from home, sacrificing so much for our freedom. Shipping a care package is like wrapping up a piece of home, love, and gratitude and shipping it straight to someone who truly deserves it! It’s meaningful, heartwarming, and oh-so-rewarding.
Ideas & How You Can Send a Military Care Package
webSITES that ASSIST WITH SENDING MILITARY CARE PACKAGES
There are several sites that can assist in this bucket list goal, like:
After researching and reading rave reviews, I chose to use the site anysoldier.com.
Pick a Soldier/Troop
There are hundreds of soldiers and troops to choose from, each sharing a personal story and/or list of needs. As I read through dozens of profiles there was one that immediately got me teary eyed and that’s how I chose Soldier Mallory.
His profile simply read:
“This is my second time being deployed and it is just as hard as the first one when it comes to missing your loved ones. I will not sit and say things I want because I will be appreciative with whatever I receive. To know someone cares enough to take the time to send us a care package is just as good as any luxurious items. Thank You! “
CARE PACKAGE ideas FOR THE MILITARY
There are so many different items that you can put in your care package, just keep in mind that it’s not recommended to send food and toiletries in the same box. You wouldn’t want your granola bars to end up tasting like a bar of Dial soap, would you? I chose a toiletry themed box, because I oddly like buying toothbrushes and deodorant. But, here’s a list of great ideas:
- Snacks: Pack a variety of snacks—think of it as a taste tour around the world! Throw in some non-perishable goodies like non-melting candy, nuts, cookies, beef jerky, and single-serve drink mixes. Make sure the packaging can’t be easily crushed.
- Toiletries: Travel-sized toiletries are a great idea for any soldier! Include toothpaste, deodorant, wet wipes, soap, shampoo, sunblock and other essentials to keep them feeling fresh and clean.
- Games & Entertainment: Pack something to keep the troops entertained during their downtime. Include books, magazines, poker chips, puzzle books, or even a deck of cards.
- Comfort Essentials: Don’t forget to pack some comfort items like cozy socks, hand warmers, a nice water bottle or a soft blanket.
- Stationery: If you’re hoping to receive letters from your service member, be sure to stock them up on stationery. Get some good quality paper, envelopes, address labels, and a decent pen. But here’s the catch: don’t bother with stamps. They’ve got that covered.
- Personal Touch: Add a heartfelt letter, photo or a personalized card. Share a bit about yourself, your adventures, and why you appreciate their service. Let them feel the connection!
After writing a shopping list for my soldier, I rolled into the Walmart parking lot in the early morning, hoping to escape the entertainment of the stores midnight crowd. Luckily, the Dollar Tree was also right next door where every item is…wait for it…a dollar! Between the two of these stores, I was able to purchase everything I needed.
What I put in my package:
- 2 novels
- 2 notebooks
- 2 sudoku books
- 2 toothpastes
- 8 pkgs tissues
- 2 cotton swabs
- 4 deodorants
- 8 Bars of soap
- 7 toothbrushes
- Manicure kit
- 2 boxes Advil
- Cough drops
- Band aids
- Hair ties
- Air freshener
- …and an “Angels watch over you pendant”
Walmart also conveniently sells shipping boxes, at a fraction of the cost of those at the US Post Office. So, I added one to my cart. My grand total for all the items was $42.58.
Write a Letter
After packing the box, it was important to me that I included a handwritten letter in my care package, addressed personally to Soldier Mallory. This is what it said:
“Hello from California!
Today is my 45th birthday (YIKES!) and I wanted to do something very special to celebrate, something I’d remember for years to come. Sending this care package to you to show my support is that something.
What you all are doing for our country is courageous and admirable.
I read many profiles, but yours got me a little teary eyed, so I knew you were the right one to choose. I loved that it was simple and filled with gratitude.
I live in a tiny town called Petaluma, about 45 minutes North of San Francisco. My husband and I own an Italian restaurant named Sugo Trattoria right in the middle of the historic downtown. If I could have sent you some of our prosciutto and wild mushroom raviolis, I would have!
I am also a travel writer and creator of a blog called Bucket List Journey. It’s all about traveling around the world in search of once-in-a-lifetime experiences and checking items off my list. Of course, sending a care package to a soldier is one of them and I’m excited be doing it today.
I hope you enjoy the package and I will be praying for your safe return.
Be prepared because at the post office, you must fill out form 2976-A, one that lists every little thing in your box. Just stating that the box is filled with “toiletries” is not enough, so I had to be very specific as I did not want to risk the package being sent back to me. Then I paid $22 and my care package was officially on it’s way.