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.