Care packages for troops on duty overseas are not only needed, but are still the best way to 'thank you'. While most basic needs of troops are already provided for, there are always certain items that are in short supply.
For example, prepaid phone cards are the best and most useful things to send troops overseas, according to the Army & Air Force Exchange Service, whose phone campaign is called Help Our Troops Call Home. Prepaid phone cards can be sent to individual troops or to any troop via a service such as the American Red Cross. As well as phone cards, send a batch of blank greeting cards, so that troops can remember loved ones back home.
Food and beverage items that remind troops of the tastes and smells of home are always cherished. Small individually packaged items such as instant coffee, hot chocolate packets, and sugar packets, are always needed. Instant food items such as breakfast foods, instant soup mixes, and ready-to-eat meals and salad kits, are ideal. Also, individual packs of snacks, such as chips, peanuts, pretzels, cereal and granola bars, brownies, cakes, candy and gum. Chocolate items are a bad idea, because chocolate melts.
Personal items, such as T-shirts, hats and gloves, flip flops or shower shoes, and shoe polish are great.
Other items such as sunscreen and lotion and wrap around sunglasses are vitally important as many troops are stationed in very hot areas. Other hygiene items such as toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, shampoo, Band-Aids.
Entertainment is a luxury that troops need. Send items such as movies DVDs and music CDs, magazines, handheld electronic games, and playing cards.
But most of all, send cash. In this post-911 world some items may have difficulty getting through and the military's supply system is already overloaded. Sending cash, while less personal, is often quicker and more practical. A quick Internet search will bring up websites with lots of information on how to send cash or packages to troops overseas.
Dylan Miles, journalist, and website builder, lives in Texas. He is the owner and co-editor of http://www.militarylife.info on which you will find a longer, more detailed version of this article.