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…Nine ladies dancing, eight maids a milking, seven swans a swimming, six geese a laying…five golden rings…four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree.

The clerks at the local Safeway occasionally comment on the contents of my shopping cart. Besides my groceries, I’ll load up on any buy-one-get-one-free special on Flaming Hot Cheetos, cookies, granola bars, and beef jerky for the care packages I send to our military in Afghanistan.

Sandbags in lieu of wrapping paper. Thermal underwear, socks, Easy Mac, root beer, soy sauce, linens, coffeepots, hand warmers, hygiene items, dog toys, snivel gear (that’s military talk for gloves, hats and balaclavas), power inverters, camp showers, microwaves, a blow up doll (no, not that kind) are some of the things I’ve sent.

I’ve been sending packages since 2007. I’m on a first name basis with the clerks at the post office.

It’s not about politics. Or whether I support the war. I’m blessed in so many ways, fortunate that I live here. For me, it’s a way of giving back to the men and women who protect our country. I’m not alone in my opinion, but I realize there are those who would take exception to what this post is about.

Tis the season of giving, and it’s not too late to show your thanks.

The military mail system makes a herculean effort to get the mail to the remotest combat post in time for Christmas. Why? Because mail is a huge morale booster.

Last year, I sent boxes out nine days before Christmas and received an email from my contact that they’d received the goodies on Christmas Day.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money. You don’t have to send a package. You can stuff a padded envelope with packets of powdered hot chocolate or candy and enclose a note. You can send a card. Drawings and letters from kids are always in demand. Some units post the cards and drawings on their morale board.

The tree I sent. Love the garland.

Something as simple as a postcard will put a smile on a soldier’s face. I know this because I’ve received letters and emails from some of my contacts stating that the receipt of my package improved the morale of the entire squad. Funny, it did wonders for my morale, too.

Tonight, I packed a 20 pound box for a Marine unit in a remote part of Afghanistan. Lots of holiday goodies from Trader Joe’s. Sunflower seeds. Hot cocoa mix. Coffee. Travel mugs. A Slinky. Chattering teeth. Wind-up toys. DVD movies.

I don’t know these guys from Adam, and they don’t know me. I may never hear from them. But I know the contents of the box will put a smile on their faces. And that’s good enough.

I’m told that hearing one’s name at mail call is a huge rush. There are soldiers who never hear their name called during their entire deployment. That’s pretty sad.

The Any Soldier program was founded for that very reason. Military personnel who sign up for AS act as a liaison for the unit and distribute the contents of the packages.

But as many soldiers have said in the past, it’s not really about getting stuff. It’s knowing that someone took the time to mail a card or a package. That after ten years of war, they are not forgotten.  

When someone is far from home the holidays take on a new meaning. I hope you’ll think about sending a card.

www.anysoldier.com

Obtaining an address is free. You will need to register and provide your address. This is a preventative measure to keep the nut jobs from requesting addresses and sending hate mail to the troops. Yep, it happens all the time.

AS will not put your address on a mailing list nor will they send you any emails other than updates for your contact, which is at your discretion. Some contacts may wish to write or email you a note of thanks so you might want to include your email address. Domestic postage rates apply.

Questions? Feel free to email me. Thanks for reading!

This is post number nine of twelve days straight of blogging. Thank you for stopping by!

 

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