Friday, November 11, 2011

Shopping for The Troops

It's Veteran's Day.  I have a nice post I like to share, and I'll do that after we talk about what to send and how to send it.

I'm starting backwards, with how to send it.  After lots of practice, I realized that it was easier to start with the box and fill it as I collected the items.  My house stayed neater, I had a sense of what else might fit, and it forced me to mail it when it was full.  I never had a spare bedroom filled with potential goodies.... at least that was the plan,

So, to enable you to learn from my mistakes, let me suggest a trip to the post office (or and does anyone else wonder why it's not dot gov?).  A Priority Mail APO/FPO Flat Rate Box stacks neatly and travels safely to all parts of the globe, and the USPS gives it to you for free.  If you order on-line you get a package of 10.... free.... no charge for shipping.  

Take it home, tape the bottom securely, and open your mind to the opportunities. 

Ms. CheeseHead (GO PACKERS!) is making cooling neck wraps for her nephew serving in Afghanistan.  They have to be tan (too bad, the red/white/blue ones were pretty awesome) and they require a lot more effort than I have energy to expend, but you know that the guys in his group are going to love them.  Anything handmade will feel like home, and that just has to be a good thing.

My InBox informed me that expired coupons can be used on overseas military bases, and that our military families find them helpful in making ends meet.  I can't even begin to explore how appalling that is... but I can show you how to help
. I support Troopons: Coupons for Troops
If you are anything like me, your desktop, purse, reusable grocery bags are all holding those coupons you would have found really useful had you remembered that they were there.  Instead of groaning and tossing them, click through to Coupon Cabin and see how easy it is to turn forgetfulness into thoughtfulness.  If you are really good, or have children with time on their hands, spending an afternoon cutting coupons and mailing them off is a crafty way to do a good deed and have a chance to listen in on what's really going on in their lives.

What to pack inside that box?  Magazines and paperbacks and puzzle books (remember the writing implements!) are good to line the bottom and sides.  Individually wrapped foodstuffs (avoid peanut products) are better than big bags of loose items.  Think fit inside a breast pocket.  Animal crackers have a nifty resealable inner pouch which has been proven to be effective against desert sands.  I have this on good authority.  

Personal care items are always appreciated.  Dark socks, unscented wet-wipes, small packets of tissues, hand lotion, dental floss - look at what you use in the morning, what makes your day a little bit easier, then see what's on special at the small business nearby and do a good deed in all sorts of directions.  Think AA-batteries and notepaper and thumb tacks and a deck of cards or game of Boggle or travel yahtzee.  

My favorite thing of all to send is cards - birthday, graduation, wedding, New Year, Mothers' Day..... there are never enough in the PX and my desk was over-flowing with Disabled American Veterans and St. Jude's Children's Hospital and and and cards from all sorts of worthy organizations which were sent on their way and put to good use immediately.  

Finally, I found this suggestion on
Beanie Babies!
No kidding! A really good excuse to get rid of those things (don't buy new ones, collect them from your house and ask your friends)!! Send some in every package to ALL units as they are really easy for the Soldiers to carry with them and give to the local kids who love them. These are better then small plastic toys which will break easily and are not as easy to carry in a pack. There is NO more effective ambassador for our country than a Soldier helping the local folks.
I have finally found a way to separate my kids from their childhood treasures!  Here's to emptier closets and fuller hearts and a wonderful holiday season.

Now, here is my thank you to those who have served.

".... our Star Spangled Banner yet waves....."

"......purple mountains' majesty....."

Remember :

Say "THANK YOU !!" to someone who served.

And, perhaps, a moment of silence at 11am.....
when the shooting stopped forever..........
the first time.


  1. Who would have thought Beanie Babies... I'm lovin' that idea. We have so many of them. What do you think about other small stuffed-animals? I would love to give those to a worthy cause. Also, I don't know anyone in the military, so any suggestions of places to send items like this in care of another group?

    Love the shopping suggestion for today.

    Have a wonderful weekend.

    Megan xxx

  2. Good for you, A/B!

    "I can't even begin to explore how appalling that is..."

    A shocking number of families of active duty soldiers get food stamps. In 2008, more than $31 million in food stamps was cashed at military commissaries (that number varies year to year depending on COLA levels for military pay, so it's likely to go up over the next few years). Families stationed at home and abroad qualify for the FSSA program.

  3. Very good suggestions. I have a friend who is a Blue Star Mom and she is packing boxes as I write to send to the troops in which the Moms' children are serving. The beanie baby is interesting as I've been told by charities to not give stuffed animals as they carry allergins and dust mites.

  4. AB-I really am commenting on your next post about the Penn State situation. For some reason, it will not let me comment on the post. It's been up all day and nobody commented, I thought that just a bit unusual for your readers not to weigh in on this.

    I want to thank you for writing this emotional, rational, factional account of this tragedy because I can not write it myself. America is ready for what I'd have to say about that man, the football coach who I used to adore who looked the other way and the University (that my son ALMOST attended and I've loved) covered it up.

    You see, I could never write such a post because when it comes to RAPE, I am not rational. At the age of 12 I was raped by 3 grown men and now at the age of 50, though I've healed and got on with life it was only after 30 years of PTSD, Alcoholism/drug addiction, Depression and a suicide attempt.

    And even though I am for the most part happy. healthy and well these days I cannot detach enough to write such an informed yet emotional plea for justice.

    Thank You AB....Thom

  5. I wanted to leave a comment on the post above, but the comments link isn't working for me.

    Thanks for linking to the Grand Jury report. I could only read part of it, and I am thoroughly appalled. The people who didn't report these incidents to the police are almost as guilty as Sandusky. I hope they all get punished.

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  7. MS said...
    AB, I tried again to post after I got home, but I still couldn't respond; so I'm responding like very one else on the post below.

    I'm not a person that usually is at a loss for words, but the anger I feel and sadness for these children that trusted this man has left me almost speechless. This man used his position to lure these already at risk children and did horrific things to them. While I believe everyone is innocent until proven guilty, when it comes to something like this and there being a witness, I have to trust the witness (and the children). This man manipulated so many. And I agree with Judy that those who said nothing are just as guilty. We, as adults, are responsible for protecting children and no one protected those children from this predator.

    I want him and the others to pay dearly. I know that's not kind, but what they all did to those children is horrific.

    I need to go relax because I find myself wanting to cry. It's so upsetting. You are braver than I am. There is no way I could read the indictment. Just reading the bits and pieces I have has been unbearable.

    Chat with you tomorrow.

    Megan xxx

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