Care Packages 101: Getting Organized
I must admit that I am out of practice when it comes to deployment care packages. My husband hasn’t deployed since 2012, so I haven’t had to think about care packages in quite some time. And while you can find some great sites out there with care package ideas and tips, I think it is important to refresh your memory and start at the basics of sending a care package.
When my husband was last deployed, he rarely asked for much, just mainly some snacks he could not find at the PX on base. He wanted anything from pretzels, candy and beef jerky to magazines and books. And one thing I always did do was focus on making sure he knew he was missed and loved. I always wrote on the inside of the box so when he opened it, not only would it have a letter or card inside, it would also say “I love you” or “I miss you” on all sides. I would gently spray the letters with my perfume and I would make sure I sent something to him each and every week. I never wanted him to go very long without hearing from me in some small way. Receiving a care package and holding something tangible in his hands from me each week was a reminder that I missed him and could not stop thinking about him. Little did he know that sending those boxes and letters each week is what kept me going also.
Where to start…
Don’t get out of sorts about planning your next care package. If this is your first in a long time, or perhaps you’ve never sent a care package before, take a deep breath. There are four very simple steps to start your box.
- Choose a theme. Is it your service member’s birthday, or perhaps you have an anniversary coming up? Choosing a theme is not only a helpful tool in staying organized and changing it up every week, but it will also allow you to have fun with it and try new things. Check out some of these fun theme ideas from Married to the Army that works for all branches!
- Choose your contents. Now that you have your theme, what will go into your box? If your service member has requested something that doesn’t fit your theme, no worries! Send it any way then get ready to continue packing your box. Whether it is candy, chips, magazines or puzzles – have fun with it! Here is a list of care package friendly contents developed by Jo, My Gosh!
- Grab your box and personalize it. I never left my box plain; I would either decorate with pictures or write on it. A favorite thing of mine to do was writing all over the box words of love to my husband. Don’t forget that you can grab a FREE military care kit from the Post Office.
The kit contains; Two Priority Mail APO/FPO Flat Rate Boxes, Two Priority Mail Medium Flat Rate Boxes, Priority Mail tape, Priority Mail address labels, and appropriate customs forms. More details here.
- Fill and send. Fill up your decorated care package box with the goodies and ensure that it is properly sealed before shipping it out. Complete all your customs forms and address label at home. That way, you aren’t overwhelmed at the Post Office and holding up the line.
Did you know?
The Hershey Company has a Military Care Package Program and they send military care packages to service members overseas. To request a care package, click here.
Angela Caban is an Army National Guard spouse, mother of two, freelance writer, published author and branding expert. In 2010, she founded the Homefront United Network, a military spouse and family support blog created to assist spouses who do not live near an installation, and she is also co-founder of SpouseTalks. As a branding and digital influencer, she has created content for A&E, Lifetime Network and PBS. Currently, Angela serves as a Community Manager for USAA, writing about her experiences in deployment.