Store Christmas decorations already displayed in some local stores may seem early, but they’re a good reminder that holiday goods for deployed troops take time to travel across the world.
The trip is usually about three weeks, according to Susan Lawson of Soldiers Angels—an organization that sends care packages to those serving overseas.
Most people send snacks and hygiene products, but there’s much more that can be make a service member’s day. That includes one item that would normally spoil a kid’s holiday—socks.
“It’s really really cold in Afghanistan right now and these guys need to be changing their socks every day,” she said. “They can’t dry when it’s 20 degrees out—it’s not very exciting, but socks.”
Prohibited items in the Middle East include pork, alcohol and pornographic items. For who believe in creating gifts, hand made quilts are well-received, Lawson added.
There are various organizations that accept gifts and monetary donations. Here are a few recommended by Patch readers:
- Soldiers’ Angels sends care packages to deployed troops including First Response Backpacks, which provide recently injured service members with items they are usually without right after being medically evacuated.
- Socks for Heroes is a San Clemente-based organization created by Jim Hogan, whose son Lance Cpl. Donald Hogan was posthumously awarded a Navy Cross for heroism in Afghanistan.
- Care Packages from Home was recently featured on Patch and has an exhaustive list of commonly requested items.
- Thanks for our Freedom allows donors to adopt troops and military families.
- Huddle up for Heroes is an organization started by an 11-year-old boy.
If the cost and time is an issue, an easy solution Lawson recommends is to is to write a card or letter to a service member.
“It doesn’t have to be something big that’s sent, just that something was sent,” she said. “They’re honored to know that there are American back home who care about them and who remember they’re there fighting for us.”