Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Good News & The Bad News

The Good News is I went shopping today for my care package.  The Bad News is that I think I bought enough for 10 soldiers!  Either I wasn't really paying attention (most likely since the kids were with me AND I was trying to call/text on my new phone which I still haven't figured out how to fully operate yet), or I figured I could somehow squeeze all this stuff into a regular sized box, tetris-style. 

The OTHER Good News is that I went through the website & found that if you go through their "Support The Troops" link, you can get mailing boxes for FREE!  I ordered a pack of 10 that will be delivered to my home sometime within the next week.  So what doesn't fit into 1 (or 2) boxes will just be put into another.  Anyway, when I finally brought all my purchases home & laid it out, this is what I had...  (click on pics to enlarge)

2 boxes Kleenex
1 pk baby wipes
1 stick deodorant
3 bars Irish Spring soap
1 can medicated foot spray
1 sm. bottle lotion
1 sm. bottle aloe vera
3 travel-size antibacterial gel

6 boxes "Singles To Go" flavored water mix (Crystal Light, Wyler's, etc.)
1 box instant coffee singles
1 box powdered coffee creamer singles
1 box Quaker oatmeal snack bars
1 box Nutri-Grain bars
1 box fruit snacks
1 box Strawberry Pop Tarts
1 box microwavable popcorn
2 bags trail mix
2 bags beef jerky
1 bag butterscotch candies
1 bag Twizzlers
1 bag sunflower seeds
1 bag 6pk Chicken Ramen Noodles
4 pks. Hormel microwavable meals
4 pks. Betty Crocker microwavable desserts
2 pks. Easy Mac mac-n-cheese
1 pk. chewing gum
1 can toffee peanuts

3 pks. water balloons
1 pk. playing cards
3 magazines (People, US Weekly, etc.)
1 sm. board game of Checkers

1 Nalgene water bottle-32 oz.
1 notebook
1 Sudoku book
1 Word Find book
1 pk. ink pens
1 pk. index cards
1 box small envelopes
1 letter from Alison
1 drawing from Aidan
1 Thank You card
1 picture of kids holding "Thank You" sign (not finished yet)

The other BAD News is that I realized afterwards that NO aerosol sprays are allowed (medicated foot spray) and ONLY travel-sized items should be sent (Kleenex), so those 3 items will just be used here at home.  I have to admit, a lot (ok.. MOST) of the items I bought were NOT on my soldier's request list, but were items that I saw lots of other soldiers requesting.  The items on MY guy's list were a $250 gun holster (sorry, but not gonna happen) and a $50 folding foot stool (again... nope!), so I just went with general snacks, games & mailing materials.  I'm sure they'll be used & appreciated either way.

Comments are welcome!  Please let me know if something on this list is a no-no and I won't include it in my care package.  (Like the pre-cooked bacon I also bought before I remembered NO PORK PRODUCTS ARE ALLOWED because of local customs... LOL).

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Just a few days ago, I saw a facebook status from one of the Tesdall cousins that read: "....Hope to connect with a soldier whose package was returned to me (from Afghanistan). Injured, he was sent to Bethesda and is now rehab'ing at VA hospital in Richmond."  They are literally driving from Jacksonville, FL (with 2 young children) to Richmond, VA to give their soldier the care package that was returned to them in the mail.  Jeff & I just thought that was awesome, and we were inspired to adopt our own soldier.

I was unfamiliar with and after a bit of research into the program, we discovered that their mission is to distribute care packages all over the world to any soldier in any branch of the military who does not typically recieve a lot of mail from family or friends.  It's not so much about "stuff", but more about "support".  But, of course the "stuff" is helpful & appreciated!  Within minutes of signing up, we were searching through the list of names (over 1500) of soldiers requesting care packages for their units, or for members of their units who hardly ever get mail.  Some even requested items for local Afghani or Iraqi children who didn't have toys, shoes, blankets, etc.  After reading through several of these, I ended up with an address to a group of MP's stationed in Iraq.  (The kids really liked the idea of supporting police officers.)  So basically, our care package will be given to someone in this MP unit who doesn't get a lot of mail from home; this soldier will become our "adopted" soldier.

Alison was instantly inspired to write a letter to our soldier, to be included in our care package.  She is very excited about sending it out with a few of the items we've selected from the list of needs (which we will be buying this weekend).  I'm going to include a self-addressed stamped envelope, paper & a pen, and hopefully we will get a return letter from our "adopted" soldier.  I'll keep you updated....

Here is Alison's letter:

It reads:
"Dear Soldier,

Thank you for all you've done for our wonderful country!  Me and my brother Aidan love playing war but we know that fighting in the real war is really, really dangerous.  I hope you or any of your friends never get harmed.

Let me tell you a little bit about myself.  I'm 10 years old going into 5th grade.  I also have a black belt in taekwondo and my favorite sport is basketball.

Maybe if you have time you can write me back and tell me a little bit about yourself.  I hope you stay safe and thanks again for protecting our country.

Alison T."