Sunday afternoon, my beautiful niece texted this photo to me of their dining room table in Tomball, Texas.
Megan and John Sneed awoke that morning and decided to go shopping for their cousin and our son, Mark Murphy and his buddies, who are stationed with the US Army in a remote part of Afghanistan. With additional donations from my sister Gayle Butler and nephew Bryan Sneed, eight heavy boxes of goodies went out in the mail yesterday afternoon.
The generosity of these Texans just blows us away–here in California as well as in Afghanistan.
And we now hear that Houston natural gas trader Adam Herndon and his wife Cary have also joined in sending boxes to soldiers serving in Afghanistan.
A steady diet of pre-packaged military meals (MRE’s) becomes pretty monotonous, and snacks from home are guaranteed to create some excitement. Salted nuts, Pringles, granola bars, powdered fitness drinks, energy shots, beef jerky, candy, coffee, tea, hot cocoa mix, and other prepackaged foods are so appreciated.
So are all things related to personal hygiene.
Weather is starting to turn cold in Afghanistan, and American soldiers stationed there are preparing for the bitter and freezing months ahead. Some of these very remote outposts, called COB’s (Contingency Operating Bases), lack basic plumbing, have little or no hot water, and certainly no convenience stores where soldiers can shop for snacks, shampoo, soap, personal hygiene items–or even tobacco habits.
There is also no television, no internet, hardly any phone service and in some cases, very limited electricity. Magazines, puzzzle books, decks of cards, games and the like help pass free time–when the soldiers have that luxury.
We send boxes regularly, and have begun to include old Beanie Baby collections, packaged candies and new small toys for the soldiers to pass out to children when they are out on a “mission.” A little kindness might go a long way in bridging relations between the two cultures.
There is a big break in postage when sending packages to soldiers in Afghanistan or Iraq. For $12.50, you may send a 12x12x5 Priority Mail box to any soldier stationed overseas. At first glance, you might wonder how much you can fit into one of these boxes. The answer? As much as you can stuff into one! One of the boxes we sent contained school supplies for Afghan children and it weighed in at 18 pounds. We’ve also leared to shop for items that can fit into the confines.
Click for a partial list of things soldiers need and appreciate over there. Mark distributes to the guys and two gals in his small unit, but another place to find soldiers to whom you can donate (especially with holidays around the corner), go to: AnySoldier.com I have pulled names from here before and sent boxes to these soldiers as well.
It’s just a simple way to lift spirits on both sides of the world.
You may also want to read:
US Soldiers in Afghanistan Need Your Help
Let’s Help Open Schools in Afghanistan