Friday, October 31, 2008

Pay It Forward: Care Packages for The Troops

Have you wanted to give back somehow but you weren't sure how or where to start?
Especially in the current economic conditions now more than ever giving back is difficult.
But during this time of year when we are celebrating and enjoying Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas I think it is more important than ever to remember the troops. Many will be overseas during the holidays and many others will be injured and in hospitals recovering.

I am working with an organization called, "Operation Care Packages" and they are collecting items to send overseas. I think about an organization such as Etsy that connects millions of people and see so much potential to make a difference. If everyone gave one or two items we would easily meet and of course exceed our goals.

I want everyone to see the different ways we can make a difference. I personally can not financially give a lot so let's get creative. I have gone to locals schools and have the kids coloring pictures and messages to send overseas. Cost: ZERO and it is a fun project for the kids and the troops will LOVE it. I have several churches involved now too. We can all help spread the word to our neighbors and our work centers too.

If you really want to give something and not just spread the word then think about things around your house that you are about to throw out or things that have been around for awhile and you aren't using such as magazines. We read them and then get rid of them, or have them sitting in offices for customers to read. Our troops generally don't have access to news, or magazines while deployed so this is a great gift that really won't cost a thing. My sister and mom LOVE to read and have shelves of books they don't know what to do with, so these can be donated. Do you have old movies, or games laying around? Donate those... Hopefully you can see the many ways to contribute without costing you financially.

If you would like to send something else there is a LONG list (I apologize in advance for the length) of items they could use, or would like. Many of these items are specific requests. All items will get to the troops because we have a list of names to send these too. If anyone is interested in signing up a loved one please go to the following site:

Here is a list of possible items to send:
Operation Christmas Stocking:
We need 10,000 Stockings that we can stuff and add to the Christmas Care Packages. (Approx 10-16 inches tall x 5-6 inches wide) Stockings can be made of fabric or felt.

"Wish List"
The following is a list of items that are especially needed to add Holiday cheer to packages.
Cards & letters of support to 'any hero'
Hot Chocolate & Hot Cider Packets Cookies (small individual packs)
Chocolate bars & kisses
Batteries AA & AAA
Hand held games, dvds and cds
Sweat pants and blanket throws
Socks - Mens - white /black - work /crew
Summer sausage, beef sticks or pepperoni sticks (6oz to 12oz size)
Granola Bars, Trail Mix, Nuts (individual sizes)
Small Christmas trees - 8 to 18 inches tall
Zip lock bags (quart and gallon size)
Popcorn balls / Carmel corn
Phone cards 120 min AT&T
Little Stockings (Approx 10-16 inches tall x 5-6 inches wide)
Hand made ornaments (no glass please)
Protien Bars * Batteries * Jerky
Pre-sweetened powdered Kool-aid, Gatorade
Kool aid singles or similar
Jerky, Slim Jims, Summer Sausage, Beef Sticks
Canned Fruit, Dried Fruit, Fruit Snacks
Canned Hearty Soup, Ravioli, Stew
Cup A Soup, Top Ramon, Dinty Moore
Trail Mix, Nuts, Sunflower Seeds
Pre-Packaged Cookies
Instant Oatmeal, Boxed Cereal
Easy Mac & Cheese, Microwave Popcorn
Canned Tuna, Chicken
Peanut Butter / Jelly (No Glass Please)
Small boxes of crackers
Muti-Vitamins, Tylenol

Special Wants
Small Personal or Desk Fans, Hand & Foot warmers, Hot Plates, Small Coffee Grinder, Twin Sheet Sets, Pillow cases, Travel Size Pillows, Cool Scarves, Jogging Pants, Cool Max T-Shirts, Wash Cloths and Bath Towels, Flashlights, Headlamps, Leatherman, New or Good Condition Books, No Romance Please, Mystery, Western, Thriller, Sports, Inspirational

SuperBowl Sunday Help us give them a day every American Loves
Footballs, Nerf Balls, Sports Related Items, New Football or Sports Magazines, Salsa - in plastic please, Totilla Chips, Summer Sausage, Small boxes of crackers, Cheese - Non refrigerated, Plastic Football Bowls for chips, Football Napkins, Football Sports Flags or Banners, Men's Deodorant, Shave Cream, Foot Powder, odor eaters, Small size shampoos, conditioner, mouthwash, Floss, lip balm, toothpaste, toothbrushes, nail clippers, Sunblock, Mosquito repellant, Fly tape, Wet Wipes, Anti-bacterial liquid soap

New/Used DVDs / CDs
Puzzle Books, Pads of paper, Long Envelopes
Qt. / Gal Zip Lock Bags
Hand Held Games, Hand held Mini fans, Misters
Batteries AA/ AAA
Cards games...UNO, Skip Bo,
Yahtzee, Board Games, Sports equipment, Hacky Sacks, X-Box & PS2 Games
Mens White/Black Crew/ Work socks
Under Armour Wear T-Shirts Sm., Med., Lg., Xlg.
Thongs, Shave towels, wash cloths, Cool scarves
Sun glasses, Safety glasses, Gloves, 72" boot laces

Holiday Needs

Summer sausage, Crackers, Canned Ham (Sm.)
Lots Pre-packaged Cookies, Hot Chocolate, Coffee
Chocolate Candy, Hard Candy,
Handmade or mini ornaments
Small 18-22 inch Christmas Trees (Artificial)
New or Handmade Blanket Throws
Cards & letters of support
Hand made kids pictures/ letters
Small un-wrapped gifts
Homemade / bought stockings / Mini or regular size

Here is a great website with very affordable odds and ends, such as deck of cards, stockings that are only 50 cents each, games and ornaments.. .
Mailing Address
Operation Care Package
611 Wilcox St.
Joliet, IL. 60435

Feel free to use the link at the top of this blog to look me up on Etsy and convo me if you have any questions.

Thanks to all of you that have serve, are serving, or those who are supporting the troops!!