Respect. Empathy. Gratitude. These are emotions we all FEEL when we think of friends, family, neighbors, even complete strangers who serve our nation’s military. Personally, for the past twelve years, these simple nouns have become words of action; verbs that drive me to physically show appreciation to these individuals and their families who willingly, selflessly endure time apart, protecting our way of life here at home, ensuring liberty for future generations.
Melodramatic? Perhaps…but tell that to your neighbor serving overseas in the National Guard, who out of the blue receives a random box from home. That morning, after months of deployment, there was doubt if this “job” was even worth it…stuck in a thankless environment, surrounded by potential dangers; missing a child’s first steps, the touch of a spouse, a Grandmother’s infectious laughter at the Thanksgiving table. Yet suddenly, there was a box from home, packed by complete strangers, loaded with supplies, thank you letters, children’s artwork, snacks and more; a box of gratitude…of respect…empathy. That simple box made all the difference; not necessarily with its content, but with it’s message: “You are not forgotten. Your sacrifice is valued and appreciated. You are making a difference.”
Welcome to Shoeboxes for Soldiers. This is what we do…with you. Together, we deliver that message to those who currently serve, honoring their selfless service, humbly letting them know that they are appreciated. And the truth is, it’s incredibly easy to participate in the program…
- Get a group together (Your office, church group, classroom, good friends…)
- Have each member of the group go shopping with their kids to pick-up the suggested supply, snack and morale items (see “Suggested Gift Ideas” below)
- Have everyone write several “Thank You for your Service” letters (especially the kids), making sure to include a return address
- Visit the post office and pick up several large Priority Flat Rate boxes (12″ x 12″ x 5.5″)
- Pack those boxes with your gifts and letters (leave the boxes unsealed)
- Drop-off the boxes at any area Family Pharmacy location (please include $15 per box for shipping / make checks payable to “Shoeboxes for Soldiers”)
You’re done. Through its contacts, Shoeboxes for Soldiers constantly receives new APO addresses for locally deployed soldiers. Volunteers will fill out all of the necessary customs forms and mail your letters and gifts, ensuring arrival before Christmas.
** IMPORTANT: Please deliver your boxes to Family Pharmacy by December 5th for Christmas delivery.
Thank you so much for participating in the program. Let’s make this a Christmas to remember for our neighbors forward deployed!
SUGGESTED GIFT IDEAS:
Clothing: Flip-flops, White socks, Army-green socks, Hats, Gloves and Blankets
Healthcare: Body lotion, Toothbrush, Tooth paste, Contact-Lens Saline Solution, Band-Aids, Surgical tape, Gauze, Tylenol, Tums, Allergy/cold medicine, Gold Bond foot powder, Lotriman Ultra, baby wipes, sun block, Chapstick, Deodorant, Razors, Eye-Drops, Ben Gay, Icy Hot, Q-tips (Also consider putting together a supply box for a female soldier)
Snacks: Beef jerky, Dried-fruit, Pop-Tarts, Hard Candy, Mixed Nuts, Granola Bars, Fruit Roll-ups, Ramen noodles, Tuna in a pouch, Gum, Mints, Powdered Drink Mixes, Nonperishable food items (No glass and No pork products please!)
Morale: AA and AAA batteries, Board Games, Word-Search Books, Sudoku Puzzles, CD’s, DVD’s, Disposable Cameras, Pens and Pencils, Handheld Games
Supply: Duct tape, Electrical tape, Super glue