By Heather Short
When you’re going through a deployment, it’s hard not to think of your significant other at almost every minute of the day. The worry is there, but your love and pride for what they do outweigh any negativity.
For the soldiers, it is equally difficult being away from home. They sacrifice time with their families and miss out on their children’s sporting events, school plays and sometimes even their child’s birth. It’s the sacrifices on both sides that make a military family resilient and incredibly strong.
Many spouses, girlfriends, boyfriends and families have found creative ways to send their soldier a piece of home during deployment in creatively planned care packages that can really boost morale overseas.
Soldiers are unable to run to the local store to get necessities when they run out, so they often request certain items from their loved ones.
“I have sent toothpaste, a new toothbrush, candy and his favorite chewing tobacco,” said Lorin Johnson, wife of Sergeant Andrew Johnson.
Basic necessities are often overlooked but come highly requested by soldiers during a deployment. Some of the most wanted items are deodorant, snack food and baby wipes.
Johnson also sent care packages that she decorated inside with construction paper and created designs with markers. Every holiday meant there was a new design and theme for the interior.
“Pinterest really came in handy for this,” Johnson said. Her Valentine’s Day package included 20 handwritten letters with labels to open at a specific time: “Open if you need a kiss, open when you need a hug and open when you need a smile,” some read.
“He loved getting my care packages in Afghanistan,” Johnson said. “It made him feel that I was there for him during this deployment and everything the Army would take us through.”
Julie Provost, whose husband Sergeant Benjamin Provost joined the Tennessee National Guard after 10 years of active duty, has sent many care packages over the years full of goodies that her husband requested.
“One fun care package that I sent included his favorite candy: Red Vines,” Provost said. “I also sent Halloween candy for him to share with the other guys.”
Provost also sent a scrapbook she put together with artwork by their son.
“Sending personal stuff is what kept him feeling connected to us,” she said. “Just getting a little piece of home is nice.”
Depending on the location of a deployment, a care package can take up to a month to reach its destination. This means families should send holiday or special occasion care packages well in advance. Traveling time should also be taken into consideration when sending baked goods.
No matter the distance, family members are more than happy to send packages full of anything their soldier needs or wants.
“When my husband was deployed, sometimes you feel like a care package isn’t enough,” Johnson said.
But any soldier on the receiving end of a care package feels special and knows they are remembered. Receiving a bit of home in a care package means more than you could ever know.
What to send
– Snack food
– Baby wipes
– Requested toiletries
– Handwritten letters
– Children’s artwork/schoolwork
When to send it:
Dec. 3: Deadline for parcel airlift mail and any mail, letters or cards to AE ZIP 093
Dec. 10: Deadline for priority mail, first-class letters and cards
Dec. 17: Deadline for priority mail express military service, which is not available to AE ZIP 093; check with your local post office to find out if it’s available to other APO/FPO/DPO addresses.
USPS priority mail flat-rate boxes are free; however, there is a $2 postage discount on its largest flat-rate box.