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Gift giving guidelines for Operation Holiday Cheer



Published: Sun, November 7, 2010 @ 12:00 a.m.

GIFT SUGGESTIONS

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:

FOOD/SNACKS

Beef jerky, Slim Jims

Cereal, instant oatmeal, Pop Tarts

Chewing gum, hard candy

Coffee, tea bags, hot cocoa packets, drink mixes

Cookies, crackers, chips, microwave popcorn, pretzels, nuts (remove from can

and seal in plastic bag to save space)

Dried fruits, trail mixes

Granola, fruit and cereal bars

Peanut butter

Powdered creamer, sugar, sweetener

Soups (dried or canned)

PERSONAL

Aspirin and Tylenol (sealed)

Baby powder, foot powder

Band-Aids, Neosporin

Combs, brushes

Deodorant

Eye drops, saline nasal spray

Hand and body lotions, face moisturizers

Shaving gel, razors

Soap, hand sanitizer, shampoo, conditioner

Sunscreen, lip balm with sunscreen, bug repellent

Toothpaste, toothbrushes, dental floss, mouthwash

Towels, washcloths

MISCELLANEOUS

Batteries (mostly AA and AAA), rechargeable batteries with a charger

CDs, DVDs

Clothesline, clothespins

Flat twin sheets

Flip flops

Games, cards, video games

Gym shorts, cotton socks, underwear

Magazines, books

Paper, pens, stamps

Sunglasses

DONT 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 TO OUR TROOPS

The U.S. Postal Service offers a free Priority Mail Large Flat Rate Box for

sending packages to military personnel serving overseas. The box measures

12x12x512 inches, and postage is only $12.50, ($2 discount) when used to send

to APO/FPO addresses.

USPS also offers free package pickup from your home or office. To schedule

pickup or for other pickup options, visit usps.com.

PACKAGING

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 switched 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.

ADDRESSING

Print on one side only with the recipients address in the lower right

portion.

Use the soldiers 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.

SEND BY

To ensure delivery of your cards, letters and packages by Dec. 25 to

military APO/FPO/DPO addresses overseas, the USPS recommends the following

deadlines for mailing:

APO/FPO/DPO 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. 10.

Parcel Airlift Mail (PAL) by Dec. 3.

Space Available Mail (SAM) by Nov. 26.

APO/FPO/DPO 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. 20.

The deadline for all parcel post packages is Nov. 12.

REMEMBER

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/mailing restrictions.htm, contact your

local post office or phone the Military Postal Service Agency at

800-810-6098.

APO/FPO addresses generally require customs forms. Jean Cole, who is the

Family Support Officer at Youngstown Area Reserve Station, will gladly send

you a copy of a completed form; she can be reached at 850-624-8551.

ANOTHER OPTION

American Red Cross of the Mahoning Valley has the perfect small gift for any

deployed soldier.

Called Heros Comfort Kit, this mailable container has a deodorant stick,

shaving-cream packets, a disposable safety razor, deodorant bar soap,

toothpaste and toothbrush, comb and shampoo, and a tablet towel that looks

like a pill but expands to a towel when wet.

The kits cost $5 (plus shipping) and are available at the Warren and

Boardman locations by calling 330-392-2551 or 330-726-6063.

Proceeds from the kits sustain the local Red Cross service to our military.

Source: usps.com; Karen Conklin, executive director of the American Red

Cross

of the Mahoning Valley


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