In response to our third annual Operation Holiday Cheer promotion, readers submitted these names and addresses of their soldiers 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 project. All who get involved are asked to send us pictures of your project, and we’ll post them online.
Be sure to check out our gift giving guidelines also: Click here
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, 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
Powdered creamer, sugar, sweetener
Soups (dried or canned)
Aspirin and Tylenol (sealed)
Baby powder, foot powder
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
Batteries (mostly AA and AAA), rechargeable batteries with a charger
Flat twin sheets
Games, cards, video games
Gym shorts, cotton socks, underwear
Paper, pens, stamps
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.
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.
Print on one side only with the recipients address in the lower right
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.
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.
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
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.
American Red Cross of the Mahoning Valley has the perfect small gift for any
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
of the Mahoning Valley