Sending Packages to Iraq
I got the urge to send a couple of care packages to the Marines serving in Iraq or Afghanistan, wanting to do something to show my support rather than just fly the flags every day. I started by reading all the support sites we have been made aware of. Each site has a list of the things that the troops ask for most often, and tips on packaging them. There were several places where I could have sent my money and they would send a package of things they had already selected. But I was not happy with their selections and the fact that I was paying them a fee for sending it. Also I did not think that it reflected any personal involvement on my part.
After explaining to my wife what I intended to do she expressed a desire to be come involved also. As I was planning to use my monthly allowance to finance the project the addition of her money would allow us to expand our scope. I had intended to try to keep each box to a average of $20, I soon found that this was not to be.
First we had to determine how we would send the packages. On of the more thourogh sites said to use UPS flat rate boxes. These are boxes available through the Postal Department that can b shipped anywhere for the rate of $8.98 regardless of weight. I later found out that there was a limit of 20# for international shipping. A trip to the post office gave me six boxes that measure 11’x8.5″x5.5″. Also included were six shipping labels and the required international custom forms needed to ship out of country. Since the packages are going to the military they will be going to either San Francisco or the East Coast military shipping point. We are located in California, so our point will be SF.
The custom form must be filled out and includes a list of contents. It was stressed that items be listed so as to show if electronics are included and items like soap, be listed as well so if X-ray-ed they will not be mistaken as explosives and the package destroyed. It was also advised that things be wrapped separately so as to prevent breakage and contamination of other products. Especially listed was soap be sealed so that in the heat of shipping, food products will not wind up absorbing the odor of the soap. On one of my sites I visit regularly I asked for advise from others who have shipped or received packages. One girl responded that she sent a package to a friend and he had asked for Tabasco sauce, a item listed on all the sites, and she did not seal it separately and it was broken in shipping and every thing was contaminated with Tabasco smell.
I have requested the names of four Marines and two female Marines. So here is a list of some of the things we have assembled. In each box I have included for the Males a adventure magazine from the National Geographic Society and two once read paperback books. For the Females a new People magazine and a double story, soft back book. On each list it included socks so we are sending each four pair of cushioned boot length socks. At the local farmers market I picked up six pair of what we call Hobo gloves, the kind with the finger tips open, (I have been watching the weather over there and it has been chilly lately, heck it snowed in Baghdad last week). We are sending each some soap bars, dial for the guys and my wife picked out some dove for the girls, along with some female hygiene products. Each will receive a bottle of eye drops. Several ball point pens along with some writing material’s will be included.
Lord, we kinda went hog wild in the snack department. We have a box of instant coffee bags, and various little packets of drink mix for their water bottles and a large box of instant hot chocolate packets to be divided among them. Then several different boxes of snack bars, and large box of cookie packs. And yes I found some small bottles of hot sauce at the market to day. I know I have left some things out, but these boxes are kinds small. After I pack as much into each as I can, I will have a lot left over, maybe next month I will pick up some more socks at Costco and some soap and writing material and pack up the four extra boxes I picked up last Friday while at the post office and send off four more care packages. Yes, I bought a new box of zip lock bags to separate all the stuff before packing and plan to wrap the Tabasco and soap with press and seal before placing in individual zip bags.
I waited until I got my stuff together before asking for the names and now am waiting for the them. The lady who runs the site I went to said she would send them to me by E-mail, so we are just waiting now.
Anyone who is interest can go to–
troopcarepackage.com or operationshoebox.com
for more information.
Oh yes, my $20 has jumped up to $40 plus the $8.98 shipping for each box.
If we receive any communication from the recipients in the future I will post them.
as always thanks for stopping by.