Monday, November 22, 2010

Reminder on Any Soldier

Looking ahead, I'm coordinating the holiday service project for a group one of the kids is in. We will be packing care packages for troops overseas. I use to find addresses and specifics on what people want. To avoid being part of the holiday rush we put things together before the holidays but I mail them out afterwards, so they probably don't arrive until mid-January.

I like the anysoldier site because someone in a unit will volunteer to be the coordinator on their end, post on the site what their particular people need, and then distribute the packages when they come in. As the hotspots shift from Iraq to Afghanistan I'm seeing a shift in what people need. For example, sheets are now a frequently mentioned item.

You also see a lot of the basics -- hygiene items, snacks, socks, gloves, notepads, pens, and so on. One soldier said it was a three mile walk to the dining area so some people couldn't get there for regular meals. Another said they didn't get dinner on Fridays. For those areas with microwaves handy just some ramen noodle packs can help bridge the meal gaps. Areas that don't have microwaves will ask for things like beef jerky, oatmeal bars, and fruit snacks. It is getting cold so extra socks and gloves can come in handy.

Beanie babies are always welcome -- they can be carried around in a backpack without taking up much room or adding weight, and handed out to local children as a goodwill measure.

Once our boxes are packed I take them home and then put the addresses on the day I mail them -- checking the site to see who posted that day needing the stuff we have.

One interesting note, some of the people mentioned Girl Scout cookies. You may not know this but the Girl Scouts has a "cookies from home" program that lets you pay for a box of cookies that is sent to the troops overseas. Something to remember who you see those cookie booths in February and March.

In any event, if you are sitting around with friends and family this holiday season counting your blessings, remember those serving in hostile territory. In addition to providing a way to get individual addresses, the site also provides links to businesses that have prepackaged care packages you can buy and they will ship overseas.

Just a gentle reminder.

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