Saturday, October 27, 2007

What DO I send

If you have been following along with me the past week, you have noticed I mentioned some things NOT to send.  It started out as mindless, humorous ranting but it is honestly about things we are in abundance of.  So, I have received several comments and emails asking what we DO need.  I received a comment from Debi M, with Soldiers' Angels and wanted to pretty much plagiarize her list of things we do need/want.  I also wanted to say that it is not that we don't ever need the items on my list.  I was targeting the individuals that want to send things too.  We do receive candy, sun block, chap stick, soaps and razors, etc.  We have a few large groups, like Soldiers' Angels that sends many boxes of those things.  I wanted to give you an idea of things that are individual and very meaningful.

1. Homemade Anything - We sometimes get homemade food like marshmallow treats, fudge, brownies, beef jerky, jelly and salsa.  Very big hits.

2. Pictures - We mostly operate in wide open desert terrain or run down, war torn neighborhoods.  No trees, grass, ponds, clouds, birds, deer, bears or much else to speak of.  Sometimes it is as simple as a picture of a pasture, trees, mountain, wildlife or random shots of the local town that brings smiles to the faces of soldiers far from home.

3. Letters - Long or short, from young to old, letters are always appreciated. When we got here, there were still over a dozen boxes from Christmas.  As we opened and sorted, there were many letters from children inside. I took and read EVERY letter I found.  I am so thankful of the support of those back home that I DO read every letter.  A few have had contact information and I have written them back.  Most of them do not.  Privacy and security do not allow it.  If you are a teacher or organization with many students or volunteers, send a way for soldiers to reply.  Emails work great.  I can't say that you WILL get a response back, but I WILL respond.

4. Drawings - As with letters, drawings are great.  I have received many drawings and letters and they always bring endless smiles.

5. Magazines - Always a big hit.  Hunting, Fishing, Outdoors, Cars, Trucks, Motorcycles... you know, guy stuff.  We love magazines and newspapers from home.  No girlie magazines though.  No Vogue, Modern Bride or that stuff.

Here is the part where I am going to plagiarize Debi M's list because it is great:

"Here’s a list of the items I plan to send over the next several months, feedback from you would be greatly appreciated.

THANKSGIVING: mixed nuts, sunflower seeds, dried fruit mixes, cheeses, summer sausage, crackers, chocolates and I took pix of local fall foliage etc, printed on heavy paper like post cards and dropped them off at nursing homes/VFW for them to write a message of thanks to our troops on the back and they will be sent in the box. I also plan to include a box of blank Christmas cards for the soldiers to send cards to family back in the states.

CHRISTMAS: Regional candies, cookies, Christmas drawings and letters from elementary school kids, candy canes, wrapped gifts I know this soldiers wants.

MOVIE: popcorn, hot choc./cider mix, movie candies, new release DVD.

READING: current manly magazines, flavored teas/coffee.

WINTER CARE: hand warmers, travel size cold/general care meds, cough drops, muscle rubs, tissues, micro chicken soup, hand held video game, extra batteries. I enjoy send things and I'm happy to have a way to contribute, but I want to send items that can be used.

Sorry, this is getting long but I also want you to know that I enjoy reading your blog -- look forward to every new post and I want to thank you for your service and hard work… it is very much appreciated.

Thanks again, Debi M."

To everyone that plans on sending something, anything, thank you.  It really is great to get stuff from back home.  I will find out a good place to get addresses to send goodies. 

I hope all of you have a very merry holiday season.