Did you have breakfast today? I'm asking this because someone isn't getting breakfast today and not because they didn't have time or because they weren't hungry..... it's because they are stationed in Afghanistan and the military isn't making them breakfast today. Or any day. So soldiers are asking friends, family, and strangers to send them breakfast.
Friends, I am not a crier - my people consider it a weakness. But when I read the gut wrenching request of a young man for someone to please send some cereal or some breakfast bars for his unit so they could go to work with full stomachs... I have to tell you, real tears fell from my eyes. Here's a guy who's job it is to put himself in harm's way and he doesn't even get a real meal to start his day. I couldn't believe it.
Later I went out to do chores and came in with a bucket of eggs that we couldn't even use and all I could think of was that somewhere in a hot, dusty land far away was a guy that could really use a skillet full of breakfast. I had to know for sure.
I checked it out and it's real. You can read the lame account of it here and make your own decisions about how you feel. I also contacted someone who deals with this all the time and they confirmed that yep, it's a real thing. Some troops only get 2 cooked meals and and a MRE and apparently that is good enough.
Think about that the next time you see politicians swanking it up with the Hollywood glitterati - makes you wonder if they are serving MRE's at their lavish parties. I'm sure it's one thing make these decisions when you are reading numbers on a piece of paper - it's entirely different when you hear the requests for cereal from a real person. They may be reducing their footprint but we still have people over there that have to work all day.
That's the bad news.
The good news is - do you know how easy it is to support our troops? You can buy breakfast for a soldier right now - and it's totally fun! I just did it!
Here's how - just go to anysoldier.com and then read all about it. You can select the service person you'd like to support by using their search tool here. You learn a little about the person making the request- usually it's one person representing a group, squad, or unit - and what they need. Then you request their address by filling out an online form - it's emailed to you in minutes. Next, run right over to DollarGeneral.com or Amazon and then order the items requested. That's it!
Another option is to use the HB's for Care Packages site - they have GREAT explanations and all kinds of tips and tricks. This is more of a facebook group - you have to join the fb group to get paired up with soldiers and then you get a list of items they are requesting. The great thing about this site is that they give lists of items and quantities you can order thru the DollarGeneral.com site that total up to about $25 which gets you free shipping!
Sure you can get an APO box from the post office, drive down to the store, and fill it with stuff and that is great. But shipping for the flat rate boxes is $14. How about $25 worth of stuff and shipped for free? You can either fit 2 boxes of cereal in flat rate box and pay $14 for shipping or you can order something like a dozen boxes of cereal for $25 and get free shipping - and you don't have to drive anywhere!
How does this all work? Well anysoldier and hbcarepackages does a much better job of explaining the how's and what's of the whole thing but here are a few things to keep in mind:
* Send stuff that they ask for - check out hbcarepackages list of most requested items, or check out this thread from "the reddit" for more ideas about the things that are requested. Then just order it and away it goes.
* Note there are things you may NOT send - sorry boys, I'm not sending any hotsy-totsy girlie pix. And you can't send pork products. Or booze. Check out the post service's restrictions and also tips on how to address your packages here. btw, no booze or bacon sounds like hell to me so these service people really need our care packages full of other great stuff.
* If you use regular mail or one of those "if it fits it ships" boxes (there is one just for APO's) you are really only paying post from your location to where the military post takes over. You aren't paying postage to Afghanistan just to a facility in the US (either on the east coast or west side depending on where your soldier is stationed).
* If you ship your own flat rate box you will need to fill out customs forms! I totally panicked and ran right down to my local post and they helped me figure it out. It was much easier than what I originally thought.
* Don't send anything that will leak or melt!!! Remember it's hot there and anything that can melt - will and nothing would be sadder than a box of melted chocolate that would have to be thrown away. But if you chose a female soldier you can send a bunch of jars of Nutella -
if I was stationed with a bunch of stinky boys I would need a lot of
chocolate. Nutella ships well, as I understand, and everyone loves it.
* Home baked items probably aren't a great idea because they are not made to hold up to shipping and the recipient may have allergies or what not. Just send non-melting, factory sealed, originally packaged stuff.
* Don't forget about security - for heavens sakes don't post or give out a soldier's address! Bad guys will try to sneak their way in - even by fake fb friend requests - so do not say one peep about "your" soldier. They need our help - not us creating liabilities for them. And yep your packages will be screened.
* I'm pretty sure if you have Amazon Prime you get all the free shipping you can use so quick click here and order this for someone who probably really needs a snack about now.
Don't have $25 for a box of love with free shipping? How about if you buy a "Joe" a cuppa joe? Check out this great site - Green Beans Coffee set up real coffee houses on bases over in "the sandbox" where soldiers can go and get a real coffee drink. For just $2 you can buy a soldier a coffee - how great is that? Better yet - you can send them a message to tell them how much you appreciate their service along with that $2. Better still - they have a superfun facebook page. If you "like" the page you get to see pix of soldiers with their coffees and send them your best wishes.
Still not sure about sending a care package? Don't know if it is for you - how about this.... I'll share "my" soldier with you. Any proceeds that I get from my Amazon store for the month of May will be used to send items to "my" soldier. Mother's Day is next weekend and I just know that you still need to order something..... how about a fun Life is Good shirt? Books on gardening? I know - a meat saw for butchering day!
OK fine, not the meat saw but do you know you can order flowers from my store? Just use the black Amazon.com search box on the right side of this page to look for bouquets of flowers and order like you normally would - easy peasy. I get a very small portion of the sale and it doesn't cost you a cent more. Order some movies, some Kindle books, whatever you need or are going to order anyway using this link and whatever my payout is for the month of May will go entirely to a soldier. If we don't get to $25 I'll make up the difference so they will get a shipment for sure. (I won't know who orders thru my store so you can let me know if you want.)
At the time I couldn't help the "no breakfast guy" but later I checked and was able to see that other folks took care of him - I'm so glad. But we really need to spread the word so let folks know how fun and easy it is to support our troops. Sending a care package is a great way to tell our troops that we haven't forgotten about them.
You may be asking, "Doesn't the military provide them with all of this stuff?" Nope. Sometimes it depends where they are and what their jobs are - but, nope not always. Plus what if you just really wanted Oreo's and couldn't get them? Ever. "Well then, what about their families? Don't their families send them the stuff they need?" you ask? This is a hard one..... here's how it goes:
Not everyone has a family.
Not everyone has a family that loves them.
Not everyone has a family that can afford to send them supplies.
That one kills me just a little bit.
Sometimes what the soldiers want the most is just someone to write to them. That person can be you. Or maybe your kids could send them some drawings? Have an stack of magazines - send them! Your care package doesn't have to be big or elaborate. A case of shampoo can do wonders.
So come on now, get your egg money together or some of your farmer's market money and let's send some breakfast (or whatever) to our military folks who really need it. Can't swing a full $25 box of stuff right now, then use the Green Beans Coffee link today to send just a little love. Don't have $2, you cheap son-o'-a-golly-what, then do what everyone can do right now - pray with me,
Father God, thank you for our service men and women. We ask that you have your hand of protection on them, we ask for their safety and security, we pray peace for the worried hearts of the families that love them, and we ask that you provide them with everything they need especially while they are in harm's way. We ask this all in in Jesus’ great name. Amen.
Happy Monday everyone! Now get off your wallet and order a soldier some breakfast!
Editors Note: Seeing as this can be a touchy subject the appropriate response is self reflection, getting busy and supporting our troops, and/or saying "Amen." I won't publish other comments and if this is offensive then just look away and tomorrow we will talk about chickens.