donate to soldiersIt feels so good to drop a $12.50 box off at a US Post Office and know that the loaded 12x12x5 box will create some smiles halfway around the world. In fact, when I am shopping for groceries, shampoos, soaps or other home necessities, we almost always pick up random items to include in next shipment. It’s become a habit.

So what are some of the things our soldiers serving in Afghanistan and Iraq need and want? How to donate to soldiers?

Below is a  partial and growing list:

Shampoo, hair conditioner, soap, sun block, baby wipes

Feminine hygiene products

Toothbrushes, toothpaste, disposable razors

Small packages of  laundry detergent

Insect repellent and deodorant

Prepackaged sweet and salty snacks: Nuts, granola bars, beef or turkey jerky, Rice Krispie bars, dried fruits, wrapped candies, trail mix, small canned foods.

Drink powders: Energy drinks, instant coffee, teas,  protein powder, Crystal Light, Tang, vitamin drinks.  Small power shots also work well.

Underwear: Socks, boxers, thermals

Keeping Warm: Beanies, glove liners, hand and feet warmers

Staying Cool: Battery powered fans, talcum powder, rubber flip flop sandals for shower, athlete’s foot powder

Having fun: Playing cards, batteries,  DVD movies, small games, computer games, puzzle books, magazines, stationery, and small toys to hand out to Afghan kids.

Use your imagination: We’ve sent incense (popular), duct tape, pillows, electric blanket, Beanie Babies and school supplies for Afghan children, photos, sd cards for cameras, small electric hot pot for heating water and soups and heating pad.

Also high on list: All forms of tobacco products, which are now legal to ship. Whether we approve of the habits or not, so many of these soldiers are users and it is difficult for them to buy cigarettes and other forms of tobacco. Probably wouldn’t pack this in that box of aromatics soaps, either:-)

What NOT to send: Any pornography, pork, alcohol, flammables or illegal substances. Also DO NOT mix aromatic soaps and the like in same box as food. The smell will permeate and spoil the snacks. Have made this error in the past:-(

IMPORTANT: These Priority Mail shipping boxes are free at the Post Office and when packed, must be mailed in person with a customs form. As mentioned, the discounted postal rate for our soldiers serving overseas in $12.50 (plus optional insurance).