What to Give in Military Female Care Packages
Even though the war in the Middle East is winding down, or actually about to start up again, there are still plenty of military units that would be happy to receive a care package. A good care package does not have to cost a lot of money. If you live close to a military base, you can give them the package, and they can send it without costing you any money in shipping.
When I was in Iraq, I was very thankful for the packages we received. In my unit, the few other females Marines and I received only the boxes marked "Females Only", usually sent by good natured churches and some schools. While I would never look a gift horse in the mouth, we usually received the same things each box, almost every single time, they included tampons, chocolates, and harlequin romance novels.
By the way, I still do it do it to this day; when I read a book and I am finished with a chapter, I tear it off. The guys secretly loved the romance books, and we read a chapter, tore it off, and pass it to a friend. I have walked up to guys in the desert playing spades discussing a romance novel and how the cliff hanger should have ended. When I walked up, the guys looked surprised and started to talk about hot chicks and football. Men. Once, a guy woke me up while me and everyone else but those on guard were sleeping in the open desert near Syria, and asked if I had chapter 3 of "The Notebook". I had just driven all over Iraq for 4-days with little sleep or food. He was lucky he walked off alive, I had my M-16, 120 rounds, and a grenade.
The males would receive care packages filled with candy, novels, DVD players, DVDs, CDs, and more expensive items. The females got none of these items unless we had a male friend who felt bad for us and gave us their left overs. If you want to ensure that a female gets some of the bounty, you will need to specify this on the box. Write "For Males and Females", or even better "Females Only". If the guys get to borrow our romance novels, we should get DVDs too.
Marines do not open care packages as a group. It's not like Kindergarden show and tell, and whoever was the good Marine got the new DVD. I'm laughing just writing that, it's so absurd. It is much more laid-back than that. It usually happens when a random Marine who gets volunteered because they didn't look busy enough, goes to the post office on the main side of the base, then comes back with five or so care packages. The Marine sees another Marine in their unit walking by and asks if they want a package. That's basically how we are assigned them. Here is a list of items that make a good care package.
Letter writing gear
Jar of peanut butter
First aid kit
Lemon aid powder
(NEVER send Charms candy. The lore is, whoever eats Charms, someone in their unit is going to die). We are very superstitious in war.
It is up to you, I have received cash and gift cards inside care packages. I wouldn't recommend putting cash loose in the box, but rather in a letter. The reason is because these Marines are the ones reading your card and care about your letter. We do use cash in Iraq for supplies and calling cards. We also go through patrols in villages and buy trinkets. Many people think it would be dangerous to send cash, but it isn't.
Whatever you send, the Marines who receive it will be thankful. You might not receive a thank-you letter and that could be due to multiple reasons beyond their control. They may be in lockdown when they get it, and no mail is allowed out.
I was motor transport, I drove big trucks. When I received a care package, I would hide it in my truck like it was drugs. I would hide it in the craziest places. When I had a bad day, like a friend died, I opened my package, and it was like Christmas to me.
This one time, an old lady sent some small stuff, she apologized for not sending more, but she was poor. In this card, she wrote "I will never know your name, know your journey, your struggles, but I love you, and I am praying for you individually, now, and for the rest of my life". I cried, my friend had just died in front of me.
When I was injured by an explosion blood got on it. In Germany, where I had my first surgery they burn all our gear and personal items that has blood on them. Disease control I was told. I grieved when I lost that card. She didn't write a return address, she just wanted to do something nice. This is why you should send a care package, it could change someone's life.
Thank you and please support our troops!