Submitted by bug_girl on
This seems like the best section to put this, and with the bunch of ex (and some current) military folks, I thought I'd get some info.
BLUF: what do I need to know about mailing stuff to Iraq, and what is most wanted by troops there?
Longer happy story:
I recently wrote a recommendation letter for a former student. Not only was he accepted to grad school at Johns Hopkins (!), he sent me a thank you letter.
And not only did he send me a thank you letter...he sent it from Iraq. Where he had just been called up and posted in the Natl. Guard.
The kid is amazing.
I'd really like to send his unit some goodies, but don't know anything about what is most wanted/needed this time of year. I'd also like to involve our workplace as one of our giving projects for the spring.
I figured I'd do some crowd-sourcing, and see if you can connect me to info about what and how.
Use approved channels
Anything sent unsolicited can tie up much needed resources, becoming a bit of an issue in Afganistan - check with your local base. Make sure you send a chatty letter - you have a good turn of phrase.
We sent "care
We sent "care packages" through my brother in law. From what I understand, if you try to send this type of thing either unsolicited, or through "official" channels it won't be likely to get into the soldier's hands expeditiously.
My brother-in-law works for a chaplain, so he is sent over for short periods to work in a "counseling" function.. that leaves him in a good position to do this sort of thing.
I'd recommend working through a personal contact in the military if you're going to do this. If you don't have that option, send me a PM and I'll be happy to work something out with my brother-in-law.
Good to know!
And this is why I asked before I mailed :)
I will check with our locals. thanks!
I just returned from Baghdad and we loved getting most packages. An encouraging letter should be the first they see. Everyone loves cookies, but nothing too fancy. The mint Girl Scout cookies or chocolate chip. The latest magazines will get passed around, but give them credit and include Newsweek, The Economist, and Foreign Affairs with the gaming and hot rod magazines.
Don't send toiletries. We can get things like toothpaste just fine, this isn't Vietnam. Send it directly to your student. He deserves to take one of his favorites before he shares it with his group. It's a firm unwritten rule that we share whatever we get in care packages.
+1 to POTOCZNY
+1 to POTOCZNY
Matter of fact, the Girl Scouts have a program available where they can take an order on their cookie order form for "cookies from home" or "gift of caring", and Girl Scouts USA will ship the over by the pallet. You can't direct cookies to particular locations, but it's a great way to support both the Girl Scouts and your overseas military. In my area girls are taking orders until this Friday. If you need a contact, PM me and I can try to find someone in your area, or help you myself. In my other life I'm a Troop Leader to an amazing group of 8-10 year olds in Tampa FL. :-)
Spice it up
I have a good friend who was deployed to a forward operating base where their meals consisted mainly of MREs. Never underestimate the impact of a small bottle of Tabasco Sauce or something similar such as salsa. Just be sure it won't break enroute. If they're deployed to a larger rear area base, this isn't important.
I had a collection of Ian Fleming James Bond paperbacks that I had read. I understand they nearly touched off a riot when they were received (in Iraq) since this was about as erotic as they were allowed.
Once you have an idea of what to send such as foods not readily available, use magazines and paperbacks to pad them. You can pick up a lot of reading at a used bookstore. Action adventure novels were well received.
I've heard one person say that movies are available via Netflix, so I don't include those. However, I don't know if those at FOBs have access.