When my younger sister Eunice joined the ROTC program in college I thought she was nuts, so did my parents. The 9/11 terrorist attack on our country just happened and the next thing we all knew she enrolled in ROTC. Although my parents were not entirely surprised, we all were dealing with the anxiety of future attacks and the idea of a conflict. This did not sit well with my father, but dad also realized that her mind was made up. She never felt the need to ask permission, but instead let her heart guide her. Eunice was born with a servant’s heart; she found purpose in the US Army where her compassion, leadership abilities, and loyalty would be put to good use. Her desire to defend the freedoms of this country had been and still is a primary reason she is dedicated to a career in the military.
Although concerned for her safety, my parents were also very proud of Eunice – especially my dad. He would hang her military photos all over their office and at home. During her 2nd deployment to Iraq, she was promoted to Commander of her brigade – Commander Captain Auntie Eunice (as we like to call her).
Eunice is an auntie first. When we would receive a phone call from her, she never wanted to discuss the happenings on the war front but instead would talk to her nieces one by one and have them tell her about the latest happenings in their lives. She is also compassionate. When she is home on leave she tells us the stories of tremendous acts of goodwill (hardly covered in the media) between the troops and civilians. But, she also would share how troops were discouraged, homesick, and the harsh realities of war and the effects of it on everyone serving overseas.
During her first deployment two of my sisters organized a major care package for her and her troops for Christmas. With the help of generous friends, family, churches, and corporations, we sent 50 large moving boxes to Iraq. Eunice told us how encouraged she and the troops were when they received their gifts. For many it was their only Christmas gifts because they did not have family or anyone else to feel cared for by.
The last time Eunice came home was last Christmas. She spent most of her leave just hanging out with friends and family, especially her nieces and nephews. Listening to her stories about military life, I’ve come to believe that when a person joins the military they basically sacrifice themselves to the noble cause of serving our country.
It’s said that distance makes the heart grow fonder. My sister has told me that what our troops miss the most is home. To be away from home is very hard.
With Easter quickly approaching, my kids and I decided to send my sister a care package of pieces of home. Included in her care package are letters from each of the kids, my mom and sister, and my husband and I. I also included gum, roasted nuts, beef jerky, a pop-culture magazine, containers of homemade chocolate chip cookies, and Easter eggs filled with personalized notes. I’m hoping our package of her favorite things from home will encourage her as she prepares for her 3rd deployment.
It’s amazing how a box filled with trivial things like candy can be such a morale booster for our troops. I encourage anyone who has a friend or family member serving overseas ( or anyone with a desire to help ) in the Armed Forces to consider sending them a Spring care package. I know it would mean so much and the troops would appreciate it more than you can imagine. Just remember, what you add makes it.
USPS Priority mail flat rate shipping boxes are not only free, they also double as an artist’s canvas. Personalized messages or artwork can turn an ordinary box into a work of beauty.
Homemade treats are special edible delights which have a magical way of transporting someone home – at least in their minds and hearts. My sister Eunice always tells me that she thinks about my chocolate chip cookies obsessively and always looks forward to them when she comes home.
I get a lot of questions on how to ship cookies. I’m trying a new method out. I stacked the cookies inside disposable pint containers with hopes they will not only stay fresh, but that each cookie will remain intact.
Here’s a great idea. Purchase plastic colored eggs and write as many individual messages as there are eggs. Messages can be anything from a word of encouragement, a heart-felt sentiment, poem, favorite quotes, jokes, drawings, or anything else you can think of.
The goal is to encourage the recipient with thoughts of love, support, and home.
One nice idea is to have different family members write their own personalized message to be placed inside the eggs. You can also collect messages via email from family friends and print them off to be included.
Roll each note so it will nicely into the eggs.
Place personalized messages inside each egg.
Here are some tips on putting together a care package for troops serving overseas.
- Box : The US Post Office offers flat rate boxes. These boxes are great because you can fill them up regardless of weight and will only be charged a flat rate. To give your box a personal touch, consider drawing pictures or write personal sayings. This simple gesture is an example of how what you add makes it.
- What to include in the box: I’m told troops appreciate just about anything. Homemade treats are cherished, but store bought things like nuts, protein bars, candy, beef jerky, and gum are well received too. Chocolates are bad because they melt easily. If you must send chocolate, consider the candy coated variety. Magazines, books letters, photos, chap stick, cards, and sanitized baby wipes make being away a little bit more bearable.
I would love to hear your ideas of what to include in a care package to someone serving in the military in the comment section below. I am always looking for ideas! – Thank you!
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