No matter how you feel about the war or politics, we should never forget those who are fighting for our freedom every day, especially during the holidays.
Several years ago, I would work with my family to pull together care package drives for the troops during the holiday season, and we would send ~500 packages overseas each year with the help of our community. We would bundle up and collect donations while sitting in the back parking lot of my family’s hardware store, selling hot apple cider and popcorn to raise $ to cover shipping costs. It is one of my favorite memories.
Last year I wanted to continue the tradition, but knew I wasn’t going to be able to make it back east to collect items at the store. I thought, with all of the bloggers/twitter friends we have on here, why not do a “virtual” drive? If every reader sent 1 package overseas we could have a few hundred packages out the door; and if they spread the word to their readers, we could send even more. In fact, the lovely (and sweet) Abby of Superburbs saw my post, and sent packages of her own!
This year I’d like to do it again, and would love your help. If you are located in CT, you can stop by Page Hardware (9 Boston Street, On the Green) and my cousin Jenifer Page will be collecting donations this weekend). If not, Here’s how you can get involved:
- Go to anysoldier.com to pick a soldier (or 2, or 3) and register to receive their address. Tell them Jacin (Page) Fitzgerald referred you. I work with anysoldier.com every year and they have a huge database of marines/army/air force/navy.
- Once you decide on a recipient, you can read their “wish list” of items requested. If nothing is listed – besides holiday treats (no home-cooked items, unfortunately) - the following items are always a good bet: toiletries (remember the ladies!), socks, t-shirts, shoe inserts (for comfort), books, magazines (appropriate), etc.
- MAKE SURE to check out the what NOT to send list so you can make sure everything you put in the package will make it to the deserving recipient
- Don’t want to send a full package? Even a card makes a big difference. I’ve partnered with local schools to have classrooms draw cards, and included them in shipments. You’d be amazed what a handwritten note of thanks can do for a soldier’s morale.
It really takes no time at all to pull together even just one package, and I know the creative spirit is out there with all you bloggers and designers! Have fun with it! The ideas are endless and during this season of giving, it is so important to remember our men and women who are fighting for the freedom we are blessed with every day.
Help Spread The Word!
There are many ways to help keep this going: reblog the idea using the image above, tweeting about it using #CarePackageDrive, or re-posting on Facebook. Let’s see if we can use social media for a good cause to make this a real success and help to brighten spirits this holiday season! If you do send packages, let me know, I’d love to see what you come up with!