Military Care Package Resource Guide
With 145,000 troops on active duty in Iraq and Afghanistan1 there’s no doubt that many will feel the heartache of being away from family and loved ones during the holidays. Here at Just Military Loans we know the value in any type of gift, but one of the most simple and profound gifts are the kind that travel a long distance.
A Movement Starts With One Person
Katrina Pesek took the time to do this. As a proud military wife and mother she sent a care package to her husband during his first deployment in Iraq. After sharing all the goodies with many of his Marines comrades, he told her the shocking news that there weren’t too many other servicemen who receive anything mostly because of high shipping costs.
This statement struck a chord with Katrina. She had just assumed, as most of us probably do, that all of our troops receive care packages. In reality some troops go a 7-12 month deployment without receiving a package filled with some of the small comforts of home. This inspired Katrina to start her own grass roots care package effort called Support Our Military.
It all started in 2009 when she sent extra care packages to her husband which he would distribute to fellow Marines. She continued to do this while she also balanced a full time job, a household, and family. Over the years, with the help of her community, she has managed to send out 328 care packages to troops overseas. Like her husband always says, “one care package means more to any deployed service man or woman, than none”.
While she never expects a response, she has received several thank you notes and e-mails from her deployed adoptees. Here is an excerpt from a note she received from a Marine stationed in Iraq:
“We live on a remote outpost 4+ hours from the nearest civilization so we have no way of buying anything and we depend heavily on mail like yours. Which comes 2-3 times a month. In a war that doesn’t gain much public support in the U.S. it means a lot that we still get so much love from folks like you and all. You really have no idea how much of an impact you make on these Marines. You really help the time pass by and make our deployment easier.”
What’s In A Box
Like this grateful Marine stated it’s hard to get additional supplies. Surprisingly, baby wipes are at the top of the list for most needed items. Not all of our deployed have the luxury of a bathroom or running water so baby wipes are sometimes the only means of a bath. Also foods like cookies, snacks, canned tuna and even hot sauce are highly sought after items as they help break the MRE (meals ready to eat) cycle and offer a small reminder of home. Click here to find the full list of Care Package Wish List.
How You Can Help
This holiday season Katrina is working on sending a little holiday cheer to our deployed with some special holiday care packages. She plans on raising funds through auctions and the sale of designer jewelry and handbags by Gorjana in order to send out as many holiday care packages as she can.
There are many ways you can get involved: run donation drives at your place of employment, local church or school, or within your community. If you’d like to be a part of Support Our Military’s care package effort, they are always accepting donations of wish list items or homemade items. Monetary donations are always graciously accepted as each package costs $12.95 to ship.
1As of July 2011 according to the New York Times
Do you have family or friends who are currently deployed? How will you send them love this holiday season?