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Joyce Coomer: Items for troops

Some tips on items service people like to get when they are overseas

By Joyce Coomer

When Keith was in Kuwait and Iraq, I sent all kinds of things -- small packs of peanuts (sunflower seeds, cashews, etc.), small snack cakes, local newspapers (Keith said people from other places also read the newspapers.), paperback books, Bibles (The Dollar Store has some nice inexpensive ones.), notepads, magazines, toothpaste, shampoo (basically any personal hygiene items), and anything Keith said they couldn't handily get that other people had mentioned to him.

I even sent balloons for water balloon fights (another Dollar Store item), decks of cards, and anything that caught my eye that I thought people away from home might like to have. Whatever I sent Keith that he didn't use he placed in a common area where everyone had access to the items.

A selection of greeting cards (birthday, holiday, thank you, etc.) is also nice. You can also include stamps, stationery and envelopes (although with email those items aren't used as much as they used to be). And don't forget that when the troops are overseas around Christmas, they might like to have a miniature Christmas tree.

When shipping items to troops overseas, make sure you use a sturdy, undamaged box, and reinforce it well with heavy packing tape (top AND bottom -- you'd be surprised how many people will thoroughly tape the top of a box and leave the bottom barely held together with a single piece of tape that is coming apart). Wrap anything that is easily damaged in bubble wrap and place it as much in the center of the box as possible. Heavy items (books, etc.) should go in the bottom of the box.

It is also good to put an additional layer of cardboard in the bottom of the box and, depending on what items are on top, another layer of cardboard on top before you close the flaps and seal the box. - Joyce M. Coomer

This story was posted on 2013-05-16 11:09:22
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