Packing for the Troops
Three times a year, our local Blue Star Mothers Chapter spends a Sunday afternoon packing boxes for the troops.
It’s the culmination of several months of community involvement. Watching all these people come together to reach out to our men and women serving warms this military mom’s heart.
If you’d like to start a project like this, here are some simple tips.
1. Make sure you have a list of names and addresses for the soldiers.
I start by asking the families I know who have a family member serving. If their soldier isn’t currently deployed, they may be able to point you to one who is. You may have to work a little harder to come up with a name, but we still have lots of men and women still deployed in a combat zone. Once you have a name, consider sending multiple boxes to that person so they can share with the entire unit.
2. Decide on a packing date.
It’s easier if you build it around a holiday. Our packing date this month was for Easter. The date you choose will also determine what you can include in the list. For example, you only want to send chocolate during the winter months, or it will melt and make a mess, ruining the contents of the entire box.
3. Come up with a list of items you’ll be sending.
I recommend you keep the list to no more than 10 items. Otherwise you won’t have enough of any one item to include it in all the boxes. Here are some favorites from all the soldiers I’ve spoken to:
- Beef Jerky
- Individual powdered or liquid drink mix (to make the water more palatable)
- Individual snack packages
- Lip balm
- Baby wipes
- Socks (brown or dark green)
- iTunes gift cards (that’s how they watch movies now on their portable devices)
- Cards and letters from kids
4. Contact your local media.
Involving the local news outlets gives you the chance to reach more of the community. Contact the newspaper, radio stations and any local TV channels.
5. Reach out to schools and churches.
My son loved receiving cards and letters from kids.
Finally, be prepared for an outpouring from your community. By and large, people want our soldiers to know we care. Beyond that, it’s a great way to pull a community together and send a piece of home to those serving in harm’s way.
Now it’s your turn. How have you seen instances where an individual or community has reached out to our military men and women? Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
Visiting The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery brings home the sacrifice our military men and women make for freedom.