It wasn’t until I deployed that I truly understood the importance of mailing care packages.
Prior to my experience, I thought the purpose of sending packages to deployed members was to give the person something they needed. Having now been on the receiving end, I realized it goes beyond fulfilling a physical need for some deodorant or beef jerky.
When you’re away from family and friends, there’s a void that you are left with. You miss the interpersonal communication, the personal touch of a kiss or an embrace. You long for something that just isn’t available to you.
Then, on those few sporadic mail days, you are blessed with something totally unexpected and super exciting.
It is on those days when I receive a care package that I feel the love emit from the contents inside.
From the card or note that cheers me up or brings a tear to my eye, to the k-cups that restock my stash and keep me going throughout the day.
These moments make you feel like a child on Christmas all over again.
I regret not sending packages to friends that were deployed; I just didn’t realize the emotions that could travel with these small blessings.
From here on out, I vow to be more diligent to care for friends, near and far. To send them love when they are away or when they are at home and need something a little extra because a little goes a long way.
When should you create a care package?
When you can’t physically be there for the person on the receiving end.
When you want to show them you love them and you care
When you want them to know you were just thinking about them
When you’ve identified a need and want to fulfill it
When someone is deployed or significant other is deployed, had a new baby, is going through a really rough season, just moved to a new location.
Is there ever a bad time to send a care package?
I don’t think there is ever a bad time to send a care package, but ultimately you should check the motive behind sending it. Don’t feel obligated to send something; you should genuinely want to send something out of the kindness of your heart.
Don’t replace care packages with actually being there for someone. Things are nice, but you can’t buy love. Sometimes, an individual needs a shoulder to lean on or a person to talk to and if you are hiding from filling that need by sending a package, I would encourage you to reconsider.
What should you include in a care package?
For the Coffee Lover:
COFFEE (k-cups, refillable K-cups, Ice coffee packets)
For the Food Addict:
Different seasonings (adobo, garlic salt, etc.…)
Variety of hot sauce
A mix of healthy and guilty pleasure snacks
Healthy microwavable meals (quinoa packets, protein oatmeal, etc.…)
For the Book Worm:
Amazon gift card
Creative book marks
A motivational book
A book in their favorite genre
A book for their season of life
A book box subscription
For the Creative:
Coloring book with colored pencils and a sharpener (don’t forget the sharpener)
Journal + multicolored pens
Stationary + stamps
Inspirational wall art/decor
Command hooks and strong tape to display art
For a Stranger:
Anything motivational (book or art)
A variety of snacks
Activity books, brain teasers, or puzzles
Amazon Gift cards
Holiday decorations (Christmas lights, American flags, posters, mini Christmas trees, New Years poppers, Easter basket, etc.)
For the Mom/Dad:
Pictures of their child doing every day things
Child artwork + tape to hang up artwork
A book to record themselves reading
Create a care package for the parent back home
Coupon for a free babysitter for a night upon return
For the Gym Junkie:
A jump rope
Motivational Tank / Tee
Refillable water bottle (aluminum keeps water cold for a longer period of time)
Water enhancers (Gatorade, Spark, Fizz sticks, crystal light, etc.…)
Running socks (something about deployments make you go through socks quicker)
For the Christian:
A new bible / study bible
A bible study workbook
Bible highlighters + pen
Scripture memory note cards
For a Woman:
Face masks, spa-day type stuff
Nail polish, remover, nail clippers, file
Light makeup (favorite eyeliner, chap stick,
For a Man:
See any of the other categories...
Beef jerky (lol)