Here are some great items to include in your care packages. Check with your soldier to see what specific things he is in need of!
Non-Microwave Meals: (Ensure access to a source of HOT water)
• Cup 'o' Noodles soups
• Dry cereal - small, individual serving boxes
• Instant oatmeal
• Breakfast, granola, cereal and power bars
• Pop tarts
• Tuna in the "fresh pouch" (no draining required)
• Crackers (Graham, Triscuits and Ritz - with or without cheese spreads and/or potted meats)
• Single servings of bagged potato chips
• Cookies, candy, licorice, bubble gum
• Maple syrup
• "Lunchables" (many varieties don't have to be refrigerated)
• Pre-packaged brownies and Snack Cakes (individually wrapped, lunchbox type)
• Pretzels and/or chocolate-dipped pretzels
• Snack mixes like "Chex Mix"
• Nuts - Cashews, peanuts, etc.
• Rice Krispie Treats
• Applesauce, pudding, or fruit cups with pop-off lids
Note: Sending Fruit and Fruit Products to Deployed Military
DO NOT ship fresh fruit or exposed fruit. Instead, ship suitable fruit products such as dried or canned fruits. Ship products in the original manufacturer's wrap and packaging. Which means you may send raisins, dried apricots, dried bananas, other dried fruits, trail-mix, canned fruit, single-serving fruit packs (like applesauce, cut peaches), fruit rollups, fruit breakfast bars, and other fruit-containing products.
Anything that will change the taste of the local water is usually most appreciated!
Don't forget to include a container for making the beverage (e.g. pitcher, jug, travel mug, etc.)
• Instant coffee (comes in many different flavours)
• Tea bags (available in many flavours)
• Instant Ice Tea
• Powdered "Gatorade"
• Lemonade mix (pre-sweetened)
• Kool-Aid (pre-sweetened)
• Powdered hot chocolate (this also comes in many flavours)
Comfort Items :
• Gel insoles
• Foot powder – “Gold Bond” medicated powder is a favourite
• “Tums” (indigestion tablets)
• T-shirts, underwear and socks!
• “Glade Stick-Ups”
• Blanket from home
• A big fluffy towel
Toiletries: (Pocketsize, travel-size or sample-sizes are ideal)
• Disposable razors, shaving cream and after shave lotion
• Toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental floss and mouth wash
• Tissues (small box or individual packets of the ultra soft, expensive type)
• Shampoo, conditioner, gel, hot oil treatments, etc.
• Soap and shower gel
• Toilet paper (a roll of the soft, expensive brand)
• Cotton swabs
• Baby wipes (unscented is best)
• Eye drops (“Visine” or “Clear-Eyes” type products)
• Lip balm
Note: Sending Shaving Cream to Deployed Military
Some controversy exists over the shipping of aerosol-type containers. Consider sending a "squeeze bottle" shaving cream.
General items to include:
• Self-addressed stamped envelopes, stamps, paper and envelopes
• Padded mailing envelopes
• Box of 'All Occasion' cards
• Duct tape, super glue, electrical tape
• Pre-Paid Calling cards
• “Zip-lock” bags
• Dixie cups
• Small battery operated light, batteries
• Eyeglass cleaner wipes
• A small shoe polish kit
• A small sewing kit
• Hair bands, barrettes
You might also consider sending letters that you've recorded on cassette tape or video tape. You could make and send mixed tape of all your favourite songs or a miniature scrapbook. Send pictures of yourself, your family, and friends.
Note: Sending Batteries to Deployed Military
Please ensure that all batteries are packaged in original manufacturer's packaging and have not been used. Do not send items with batteries installed.
• Playing Cards (include a magic card trick book or a book of card games)
• Board Games (travel type with magnetic pieces: Chess, Checkers, UNO, Battleship, Monopoly, Scrabble, etc.)
• Dice (they often get lost)
• Disposable cameras
• Compact Discs
• Current movies on DVD (make sure a DVD player is available for use)
• Videotape their favourite shows on TV (ensure a VHS player is available for use)
• Favourite magazines/comics/ crossword puzzle books
• Send a few toys (hacky sack, Slinky, squirt gun, whoopee cushion, bag of marbles)
• Pocket electronic games and hand-held video games (GAMEBOY, etc.)
*Edited to add*
• Always include a short letter or card. That is the best part of the care package. If you're not feeling particularly upbeat on the day you are putting the care package together, simply jot down a few lines on the back of a postcard and include that (E.g. "Packed with Love," "Also includes Hugs and Kisses from All of Us," "Missing You," "Special Delivery – Just for You")
• Small packages arrive more quickly.
• Food items are nice, but not a priority. The exception is the need for drink mixes (hot and cold) to flavour the water.
Items to avoid:
Avoid sending liquids whenever possible. But if you must send a liquid, double bag it. Ziploc-type bags are great, and can be re-used at the other end.
• Anything containing alcohol (including perfumes and colognes, mouthwash, etc.);
• Flammable items (including matches, lighters and fireworks);
• Obscene materials;
• Drugs and medications (including over-the-counter medicines);
• Perishable items (including meat)