#5. Big and small resealable plastic baggies. If you’re going to mail larger packages of snacks, send along small baggies so that your soldier can make individual snack bags (see #4). Send big baggies too so leftovers can be kept fresh and safe from mice and bugs.
#6. Anything fun! Mari from Australia — another of our Adopt an MP participants — has been sending care packages to American and Australian troops for a long time. One of her favorite gifts: a water-balloon launcher. “I wasn’t quite sure what he [Mari’s newly adopted MP] would need or could use so I just took a punt on it being something to make him smile,” she says. “Oh, okay — confession time — also to make him the envy of everyone else in his unit.” (To the 108th MP Company: We look forward to seeing pictures of that toy in action from Iraq!)
#7. Stationery. Nice writing paper and envelopes are always needed. But don’t send stamps. Military personnel do not have to put postage on first-class letters they send from Iraq and Afghanistan.
#8. Spray-on, sweatproof sunscreen. It’s 104 degrees in Baghdad today. Need we say more?
#9. Pictures drawn by little kids and plain old-fashioned letters. Sometimes simple gifts are the best.
#2. Nothing obscene or pornographic. That includes magazines like Playboy.
#3. No valuable or irreplaceable items. OK, so this isn’t on any official banned-items list. But keep in mind that most things you send overseas will stay in Iraq or Afghanistan when our soldiers come home; they are often passed along to a new group of soldiers. So although it seems like a thoughtful gesture, don’t send your grandmother’s heirloom quilt or spend $200 on a set of professional poker chips. Save those items for a welcome-home gift instead.