I wrote about the Page It Forward campaign the other day and was glad to see that some of you read my piece, and hopefully have supported the cause.
Now I have another appeal. This one takes a little more effort but also helps people from across the country. It's a website called anysoldier.com. It's a great way to support the soldiers stationed in Afghanistan and Iraq, by sending care packages to them. Soldiers submit a request of things they would like for them or fellow soldiers. This can be anything from snacks and treats to hygiene products and toiletries, movies, books, etc. You pick a soldier, fill up a package, and send it off.
Remember what it was like getting a care package when you were away at camp or in college? Remember how excited you got and how grateful any of the friends you shared with were. Imagine how grateful these hardworking brave men and women will be. They are much further from home, they are living under much harsher conditions, and most importantly they are putting their lives on the line everyday. The lucky ones have access to email or Skype to keep in touch with family in friends back home, but most I'm guessing do not. Think about how much a care package (especially one from a stranger) would mean. Disregard the politics behind these wars, and support the troops.
If you're wondering how much this is going to cost you, there is one important thing to know. These packages are shipped via APOs. That means that you send them to a military postal sorting facility located in the United States and they forward it to the appropriate place. Bottom line, you only pay domestic postage. You do still need to fill out the same customs form you would need to attach to any other international mail package, but that's easy. What we've done is get a priority box from the postoffice, bring it to the supermarket with the soldier's wish list and fill it up as much as your budget allows. We write a letter and include a picture of the kids. The first package we sent the soldier had requested crafts to help them get in the Christmas spirit. My kids had a great time making snowflakes, gingerbread men and other stuff to help them decorate.
Since finding this site about a year and a half ago we've sent 5 packages. Of those we've chosen to send to women, partly because they tend to give more specific wish lists, and partly because since they are still in the minority in the military, they have a harder time acquiring more feminine products. Of the five we've only gotten thank you notes twice. But the important thing to know is that you shouldn't do this because you expect a thank you note. They are in warzones after all and have more important things to do, like stay alive :)