I woke up the morning of my birthday and my first thought was “Holy Sh*tballs I’m 45”.
Let the midlife crisis begin.
Then, after rubbing my eyes and realizing that being my age was way better than the alternative, it was time for the celebrating to begin. For those who know me, they completely understand that a birthday celebration always includes having one memorable new experience, and sometimes twelve. Last year it was taking a helicopter ride into the Grand Canyon and another year I attended trapeze school.
This year the adventure would be a little bit less adventurous, yet just as memorable.
Today I would be sending a care package to a soldier. One I had never met before.
There are several sites that can assist in this bucket list goal, but after reading rave reviews, I chose anysoldier.com and got to work.
Pick a Soldier/Troop
There are hundreds of soldiers and troops to choose from, each sharing a personal story and/or list of needs. As I read through dozens of profiles there was one that immediately got me teary eyed and that’s how I chose Jakoby Mallory.
His profile simply read:
“This is my second time being deployed and it is just as hard as the first one when it comes to missing your loved ones. I will not sit and say things I want because I will be appreciative with whatever I receive. To know someone cares enough to take the time to send us a care package is just as good as any luxurious items. Thank You! “
Pick Items to Send
The website recommends that you choose between food products or toiletries to send. Not both in one box. You wouldn’t want your granola bars to end up tasting like a bar of Dial soap, would you? I chose a toiletry themed box, because I oddly like buying toothbrushes and deodorant.
With a quick Google search, I found an abundance of care package ideas.
After writing a shopping list, I rolled into the Walmart parking lot in the early morning, hoping to escape the entertainment of the stores midnight crowd. Luckily, the Dollar Tree was also right next door where every item is…wait for it…a dollar! Between the two of these stores, I was able to purchase everything I needed.
What I bought for my soldier care package:
- 2 novels
- 2 notebooks
- 2 sudoku books
- 2 toothpastes
- 8 pkgs tissues
- 2 cotton swabs
- 4 deodorants
- 8 Bars of soap
- 7 toothbrushes
- Manicure kit
- 2 boxes Advil
- Cough drops
- Band aids
- Hair ties
- Air freshener
- …and an “Angels watch over you pendant”
Walmart also conveniently sells shipping boxes, at a fraction of the cost of those at the US Post Office. So, I added one to my cart. My grand total for all the items was $42.58.
Write a Letter
After packing the box, it was important to me that I included a handwritten letter in my care package, addressed personally to Jakoby. This is what it said:
“Hello from Northern California!
Today is my 45th birthday (YIKES!) and I wanted to do something very special to celebrate, something I’d remember for years to come. Sending this care package to you to show my support is that something.
What you all are doing for our country is courageous and admirable.
I read many profiles, but yours got me a little teary eyed, so I knew you were the right one to choose. I loved that it was simple and filled with gratitude.
I live in a tiny town called Petaluma, about 45 minutes North of San Francisco. My husband and I own an Italian restaurant named Sugo Trattoria right in the middle of the historic downtown. If I could have sent you some of our prosciutto and wild mushroom raviolis, I would have!
I am also a travel writer and creator of a blog called Bucket List Journey. It’s all about traveling around the world in search of once-in-a-lifetime experiences and checking items off my list. Of course, sending a care package to a soldier is one of them and I’m excited be doing it today.
I hope you enjoy the package and I will be praying for your safe return.
At the post office, you must fill out form 2976-A, one that lists every little thing in your box. Just stating that the box is filled with “toiletries” was not enough, so I had to be very specific as I did not want to risk the package being sent back to me. Then I paid $22 and my care package was officially on it’s way.
I hope it puts a smile on his face.
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Care Package Websites:
Care Package Ideas
What Deployed Troops Really Want in Their Care Packages
Commonly Requested Items for Soldiers Care Package
18 thoughts on “Send a Care Package to a Soldier”
I think it is time for me to send one. I sent a couple a few years back at Christmas time. Walgreen’s sends packages that customers contribute to. I buy lots of mint gum for the “Troop” box. I think mint gum would be something much wanted. Such a small item, but cleans & keeps the mouth feeling fresh and I chew it if I don’t have ready access to water.
I would agree about the mint gum. To some soldiers it would definitely be a luxury item.
Hello my name is Kimberly and I want to donate to a soldier. How did you choose the person you donated to? What website do I go to? Where do I find it?
I searched through the anysolider.com profiles until I found one that touched me and that’s who I chose. The link is here in the comments, but also in the article itself too.
TY for the care package websites and package ideas :)
What a great idea! we are living in London currently and I wonder if we can do it from here too!
I bet you can! It was a very fulfilling experience and the perfect way to celebrate my birthday :)
Love this! happy 45th you certainly look a lot younger! I was surprised! I’m with you on birthdays being the best excuse to celebrate and do something awesome (not that an excuse is needed)
My birthday is the one day of the year where I feel that I can do anything I want with no guilt about skipping work :)
There are alot of useful items in the bucket. Are these items useful or you are just picking for the security?
I certainly hope they were useful to them!
This could be the easiest way which is quite admirable and courageous for person like me.
It’s awesome you GAVE a gift on your birthday! As we age, experiences mean so much more than things. Thank you for taking care of this soldier!
I completely agree, experiences are so much more important to me than things!
That’s very sweet of you. I’ve sent several boxes, but then got BANNED from anysoldier because I wasn’t making a donation TO THEM. What???? I spend $$ on the items and the postage, and I’m supposed to make a “donation” to the site owner as well? Things that make you go hmmmmmm. I’ll try Operation Gratitude. Thanks for the pointer.
Oh no—I am so sorry to hear about that happening! I hope that doesn’t discourage you from trying a different company :)
There are some things that can send in military care backpack including toiletries, snacks, entertainment, and personalized gifts. However, you need to pay attention to things that cannot send in a backpack such as alcohol, carbonated drinks, cigarettes, drugs or narcotics, fireworks…
This could be the easiest way which is very admirable and brave for a person like me. Thanks for sharing!