I remember one of my best care packages that I received in Iraq. It was a huge box of beef jerky, Gatorade, candy, sun screen, a few local newspapers, and toothpaste from a local Boy Scout troop from where I grew up in Minnesota. I knew none of the Boy Scouts that assembled and sent that care package, but to this day, I remember how good it felt to receive the care package and the morale boost it gave to me. Just like those Boy Scouts, you can pack and send an awesome care package to a deployed service member or friend.
Sending An Awesome Care Package Tip #1 – Send Small Packages Frequently. The US Military Mail system and the US Postal System are an amazing combination that the vast majority of times moves high volumes of mail and packages in a timely and accurate process. However, packages can still be lost, damaged, or otherwise not reach their intended destination. To reduce this eventuality, pack and send small care packages more frequently. A small package, 4-6 lbs., still has enough room for a great collection of items. A “super-sized” care package is very disappointing if it is lost. Send smaller, more frequent packages instead.
Sending An Awesome Care Package Tip #2 – Include 4-5 Small Essentials. There are always the most unexpected items in a deployed location. When I was in a staging base preparing to go into Iraq, there was an unexplained 60 lbs. box of shampoo, and only, shampoo. My team smelled of Apple Blossoms and Raspberry Breeze, but we had no tooth paste and no sun screen. Either in E-Mail or a phone call find out what the hard to get and essential items are – don’t assume that you know what they are even if you have been deployed before. Sending the hard to get items ensures a great care package.
Sending An Awesome Care Package Tip #3 – Include Small Touches of Home. Some of the small touches of home mean the most. Handmade cards, pictures drawn by children, copies of the home town newspaper, and family snapshots represent normality and are treasured. Send 2-3 of these items in every package to let the deployed service member that their welcoming and happy home is still present and they are missed. Additionally, these small items also maintain a day-to-day connection between home and the deployed location and provide points of commonality that help transition when the deployment is done.
Sending An Awesome Care Package Tip #4 – Create 4-6 “Mini” Care Packages Inside. The Mini-Care Packages are indeed small. A collection of candy, jerky, lifesavers or hard candy, instant coffee packets, and similar items are a good start. These should be wrapped separately. My wife started to do this when I was in Iraq, because there were always people that did not receive care packages or a junior Soldier that needed a pick me up. I was able to hand out these “Mini” care packages when I received mine and they made a world of difference to people. If your deployed service member is at a remote location, then consider doing a few more of these.
Sending An Awesome Care Package Tip #5 – No Valuables & Addresses. Sending valuables in the mail is never a good idea. Do not send expensive items, electronics, or other similarly valuable items. There is always a good chance of loss or damage when they are being shipped. Before you seal the care package, do a final “Security Scrub” of all the items you are sending to ensure that names, addresses, social security numbers, credit card information, and the like is not included. This reduces the likelihood of both identity theft and a loss of information that could represent intelligence for the enemy.
Knowing how to pack an awesome military care package can brighten the day of a deployed service member for weeks. Keeping packages small, frequent, and including essential, hard to find items with touches of home makes a great morale boost!
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About the blogger:
Chad is the author of two books: (1) Combat Leader to Corporate Leader and (2) Battlefield to Business Success. Chad’s brand message is that organizations & individuals need to translate and apply military skills to business because they immediately produce results and are cost effective. Chad is a retired US Army Special Forces Lieutenant Colonel with 20+ years of Active and Reserve service in infantry, Special Forces, and joint headquarters units. He served in Iraq, Bosnia, Korea, and throughout the United States. He was awarded the Bronze Star, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Special Forces Tab, and the Ranger Tab. Chad is an adjunct Lecturer of Marketing at Creighton University in Omaha, NE. In addition to teaching, he is a mid-level marketing executive and has worked in marketing and sales roles for various companies, including General Electric, Comcast, and Manugistics. He has been published in over 110 different articles in over 85 separate publications including The Harvard Business Review blog, Business Week Online, Forbes, Christian Science Monitor, and USA Today. He has a BA from Northwestern University and an MBA from Georgetown University.
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