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When your grandchild – or any special family member – is serving overseas, you want them to know that you are thinking of and praying for them. The best way to do this is by sending a care package to let them know they are loved, missed, and appreciated.
The question now is, what do you send, and how do you properly pack and ship it? Anything you include will be loved and cherished, but I wanted to do some research (in case you haven’t noticed, I love reading and learning!) to uncover the best practices for buying, packing, and sending a care package to a military member.
1. Include a Touch of Home
Think of what comforts of home your grandchild might be missing. Is it your famous homemade cookies? A soft-knitted blanket? What about their favorite childhood book (a comfort and a lovely reminder of home)? You know your grandchild best, so tailor it to them! (Remember, if you send homemade goodies, ensure they’re tightly and adequately packaged.)
2. Snacks, Snacks, and More Snacks
Did I mention that soldiers LOVE receiving and sharing snacks? Fill the package with their favorite snacks – candies, granola bars, chips, or jerky, and include extras for their bunkmates and friends.
As an aside, not everything travels well or can withstand all climates. Chocolate, for instance, might not be the best choice for a hot destination.
3. Hygiene Essentials
Personal care items such as travel-size shampoos, conditioners, body wash, lip balm, or sunblock are always appreciated and can often feel like luxuries when you’re far from home.
While homemade chocolate chip cookies and gummy bears are essential, fun stuff like a book of Sudoku or crossword puzzles, a novel, or a game can be a fun addition to the box (and a much-appreciated distraction for the recipient).
5. Heartfelt Messages
Never underestimate the power of a handwritten note or family photo, as a personal letter sharing what’s happening back home (or a snapshot of the family pet) can spark so much joy!
6. Practicality Matters
Since you want the package to be fun, you may not consider including more “boring” items, a la socks, gloves, bandanas, or battery packs. However, depending on where your grandchild is stationed, these items may be difficult to come by and greatly appreciated. (Not sure if they want or need anything? Just ask!)
7. Check the Guidelines Before You Mail
It’s crucial to verify the military’s guidelines about what can and cannot be sent. Different deployment locations may have different restrictions. Before you buy anything or mail it, be sure to check out the guidelines via Military One Source.
8. Packing with Care
Use sturdy boxes and make sure everything is securely packed. Bubble wrap and newspapers can help prevent items from moving around and will help your package arrive safe and sound!
9. Add personal touches
Last but certainly not least, add a personal touch to your grandchild’s care package. Spritz your familiar perfume on the letter, doodle a little something on the box, or even address them with their special childhood nickname. Trust me: These seemingly small touches can make their week.
Note: Don’t have a grandchild or other family member serving in the armed forces but still want to send a package to a military member? Many organizations do just that, including Operation Gratitude and USO. (This could even be a great service project to do with your grandkids!)
While the package itself will be welcomed and appreciated, it is important to remember that it’s the love, care, and thoughts behind it that truly count. Have fun with this one, Grandma – and please tell your grandchild that I thank them for their service!