Deployments are hard on both the family and the loved ones who are serving. By all means, I’m not an expert, but having experience deployment once before, I have learned a few things that are essential in care packages. Here are a list of items that are must-haves:
Any form of pictures, whether they are digital or print, are always good keepsakes for your loved one. Keep the pictures current with what you, your family, and friends have experience while your soldiers are deployed.
For videos, I put them on on a USB drive. Since social media has been a big part of many people’s daily lives, one thing you can do is include your own snapchat videos and stories. They are simple mini vlogs.
Oftentimes, there aren’t internet service overseas. To help loved ones pass by any down time they have while on deployment, movies and TV shows are always great gifts. I was able to download movies and TV shows that my husband enjoyed very much.
It is no secret that dry food is a must in care packages, but we have to keep in mind that some items are already available on base/ship where your loved one(s) are deployed. It’s good to ask ahead what your loved one wants, and what is not provided so you will know what is to give. Single serving dry food are best to give because they are quick and easy especially when there aren’t time to eat.
Plain ole water gets boring, so sending powder or liquid drink mixes are appreciated. It’s not as unhealthy as soda and more enjoyable than water. My husband definitely enjoyed the drink mixes that when he was finally home, it became part of our grocery list.
Items that reminds your deployed loved ones of home are great for care packages. Something that I custom made for my husband was a pillow with a picture of us together and a quote. It’s a great reminder to your loved ones that you are home waiting for them and praying for their safety. Smaller pocket items (keychain, dog tag, etc.) that can be carried around are ideal as well.
Anywhere that I went vacation to, I always remember to buy a souvenir so I can put in the care package to my husband. It says that even though you’re having fun, you’re thinking about them and wish they can enjoy the vacation with you.
Tips for Care Packages:
- You can receive bundles of priority boxes/labels and custom mail forms for FREE by ordering them online: Click here for the direct link.
- Always check for discounts, whether you’re a veteran or dependent. Military.com is a great resource. Click here for direct link.
- A lot of online stores and vendors can send items directly to any deployed ship or overseas military base, but it’s always great to check first.
- Themed care packages (Valentine’s, Easter, Anniversary, Birthdays, etc.) are always fun for both sender and receiver, but make sure to send them at least a month ahead of the event. It takes awhile for care packages to reach your loved ones so better sooner than later.
- Take into consideration the packaging of the items you’re including in the care package. It is best for you to use all the space you can to tightly pack in the items or you’ll have to put in safety cushions. The care package will be sent a long way and you can’t tell how well it will be handled.
- When it comes to any items, please check the expiration date before sealing and sending the care package.
- The tracking of your care packages will stop at one point, especially if your loved one is deployed on a ship. Don’t stress it and whenever he/she has received the package, you will know.
Above all, keep the communication line open and be patient. The waiting game sucks, especially when both the sender and receiver are anticipating the delivery of the care package. At the end, it is all worth it.