In response to our second annual Operation: Holiday Cheer promotion, readers submitted these names and addresses of their loved ones who are serving overseas and won’t be home for the holidays. This is a great opportunity for grown-ups and kids alike to experience the joy of giving by sending cards, letters and gifts to our troops — a perfect way to show your support and express thanks for the sacrifices the soldiers are making on our behalf. Parents and teachers are encouraged to help their children and students participate, and club members are urged to turn this opportunity into a group effort. All who get involved are asked to send us pictures of your project, and we’ll post them online.
GIFT SUGESTIONS |Shopping for our soldiers
The two items most requested by soldiers are baby wipes and phone cards (international cards are the best value). Other items that are favorites of our troops are:
Beef jerky and Slim Jims.
Cereal, instant oatmeal and Pop Tarts.
Coffee and tea bags.
Cookies and hard candy.
Crackers, chips, microwave popcorn and pretzels.
Drink mixes, hot cocoa packets.
Granola, fruit and cereal bars.
Soups (dried or canned).
Sugar and sweetener.
Aspirin and Tylenol.
Baby powder and foot powder.
Eye drops and saline nasal spray.
Hand and body lotions; face moisturizers.
Lip balm with sunscreen.
Shaving gel and razor.
Soap, shampoo and conditioner.
Sunscreen and bug repellent.
Toothpaste, toothbrushes and dental floss.
Towels and washcloths.
CDs and DVDs.
Games and cards.
Gym shorts, socks and T-shirts.
Magazines and books.
Paper, pens and stamps
THINGS YOU SHOULDN’T SEND
No pork or pork products.
Nothing that can melt.
No homemade baked goods (military rule for soldiers’ safety).
No aerosol cans or glass containers.
TIPS FOR SHIPPING PACKAGES
The U.S. Postal Service offers the free Priority Mail APO/FPO Flat Rate Box for sending packages to military personnel serving overseas. Features include:
• Measures 12-by-12-by-51⁄2 inches.
• Features the “America Supports You” logo and APO/FPO addressing block.
• Postage is only $11.95 when used to send to APO/FPO addresses. USPS also offers free package pickup from your home or office at a time and place convenient for you. To schedule pickup or for other pickup options, visit usps.com.
There are things to keep in mind when sending packages overseas:
• Temperatures in the desert often exceed 100 degrees.
• The box should be strong. Cushion contents with plastic foam or bubble wrap to keep items from shifting. Fragile items should be double boxed, with cushioning inside and between the boxes to absorb shock.
• Battery-powered items can get turned on during shipping. Remove batteries and wrap them separately.
• To seal the box, tape the opening and reinforce all seams with 2-inch-wide tape, using clear or brown packaging tape, reinforced packing tape or paper tape. Do not use cord, string or twine.
Print on one side only with the recipient’s address in the lower right portion.
Use the soldier’s full name. The Department of Defense canceled the “Any Service Member” program, so mail must be addressed to someone specific.
Be sure to include a return address.
Cover the address with clear tape to protect against moisture.
To ensure delivery of your cards, letters and packages by Dec. 25 to military APO/FPO addresses overseas, the USPS recommends the following deadlines for mailing:
APO/FPO AE Zip Codes 090-092,
094-098, 340, 962-966:
• Express Mail by Dec. 18.
• First-Class Mail (cards and letters) and Priority Mail by Dec. 11.
• Parcel Airlift Mail (PAL) by Dec. 4.
• Space Available Mail (SAM) by Nov. 28.
APO/FPO AE Zip 093:
• Express Mail not available.
• First-Class Mail (cards and letters) and Priority Mail by Dec. 4.
• Parcel Airlift Mail (PAL) by Dec. 1.
• Space Available Mail (SAM) by Nov. 21.
Every country has customs regulations regarding incoming mail. Before sending a letter or package to one of our troops overseas, visit www.usps.com/supportingourtroops/mailingrestrictions.htm, contact your local post office or phone the Military Postal Service Agency at (800) 810-6098.
APO/FPO addresses generally require customs forms.