How To Adopt A Soldier & What To Send
Volunteering as a family is something that is really important in our household. We are truly grateful for what we have and also for where we have been. At one point, we prayed for the some of the things we have now. And some of the things we have now, we never even imagined we would accomplish. Funny how life works, isn’t it? While we consider ourselves far from where we started, we never want to forget the beginning of our journey. Which for us, gives us motivation to stay humble and make sure that our children grow up knowing how lucky they are, that giving back isn’t something you do for Instagram likes and that serving others is way of life.
Sometimes, finding places to volunteer with kids can be tricky. (You wouldn’t think it would be, but we were surprised – especially when the kids were younger!) But volunteering to send cheer to our military members is a way not only for even the smallest family members to help with, but it lets you volunteer at home and at your own pace. Sometimes, I would love to donate financially to organizations, but it’s not in the budget for that month. But we always have some room for postage or I can pick up a few things on sale for a care package! Plus, the kids always have so much fun with these projects!
(If you are looking for more great family service projects – check out this list of 16 ideas!)
How To Sign Up To Adopt A Soldier
There are so many organizations that you can sign up with! Here are a few to get you started:
- Operation Gratitude
- Operation Paperback (This organization allows you to donate books to be sent)
- Adopt a US Soldier
- Soldier’s Angels
- Any Soldier (Members of the military can post directly what they need. It’s kind of like an all year Angel Tree – you pick someone’s name to fulfill their list and mail it out.)
- Operation Shoebox
What do you do when you adopt a soldier?
Well, that answer depends on what you sign up for! Some sign ups are for just letters while others are for care packages. Some are even for handmade items (like baked goods, paracord bracelets, cool ties or hats and scarves)
This should go without saying, but I know life gets busy sometimes, but please, if you sign up to adopt a soldier…please, please, please be sure that you follow through! When you adopt one, they are taken off the list from someone else being able to adopt them. Sending things out in a timely matter is crucial! Some organizations that you can volunteer with may have you make a commitment such as one letter per month. Even with good intentions, make sure that the time commitment is something you can do.
What do you send when you adopt a soldier?
There are so many things that you can send! Letters (or for younger children, pictures or artwork) is always appreciated! Keep in mind the different kinds of weather that packages must travel through as well as time. Sometimes it can take a long time for your package to reach it’s final destination not only due to distance but also due to security screenings. If you are sending holiday specific items, they need to be sent early as well as edible items need to be things that won’t melt or expire. (Many places say food items need a 6 month shelf life.) If you are packing a care package, here are some general ideas:
- Hand sanitizer (travel size works best with a seal – Some places use port-o-potties so this is huge request for some troops!)
- Mouthwash (travel size)
- Cotton Swabs (travel size)
- Sunscreen (travel size – non aerosol)
- Tissues (individual packs)
- Lip balm
- Travel size toiletries – shampoo, conditioner, shaving cream, body wash, etc
- Moist towelettes – individual or travel size
- Socks – not white – usually brown, black, green or tan are requested
- Batteries (4 packs – AA/AAA)
- Tide Pods
- Single serve drink mix packages (Kool-Aid, Crystal Light, Gatorade)
- Coffee (K-Cups or ground)
- Protein powder and/or bars (I see this request a LOT!)
- Beef jerky (This is a HUGE request too!)
- Sunflower seeds
- Crossword puzzles
- Suduko puzzles
- Puzzles (in small boxes)
- BLANK cards – birthday, general, or holiday cards (if you can send WAY in advance!) that service men and women can fill out and mail back home to loved ones
Shipping Tips For When You Adopt A Soldier:
- Use a durable, heavy duty box (the post office will help with free shipping supplies!)
- Put items into plastic baggies in case anything breaks or leaks
Other Things To Consider When You Adopt A Soldier:
- Try to get your neighborhood involved! Host a care package party and invite your neighbors to come and help package items to send out. Neighbors that can’t attend may still offer to donate items and/or money to help cover postage. You can Download a flyer here!
- Host a sock drive
- Don’t forget that while many care packages are made with the service men in mind, there are service women there too! FeminineHow To Adopt A Soldier And What To Send hygiene products and girly things are always in need!
I hope this helps you and your family while you adopt a soldier! Don’t forget to pin!
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