OYE 108: Send Something Homemade
Other than sending something specifically requested, the very best way anyone can Support Our Troops is to send something homemade. It's always welcome. If you don't personally know anyone deployed or similarly in a remote location, well, ask around. A friend of a friend is good enough, but please have your friend introduce you [maybe via e-mail] first, and confirm it's OK, so they'll know who you are.
Here are some tips:
Send cookies, brownies, fudge, whatever you can make. If you're using a brownie mix, please jazz it up with nuts, chocolate chips, etc. No alcohol [fake flavoring is OK but pls include the empty package as proof]. Make a large quantity because they'll share it with the entire unit.
Cut into small pieces, so there are plenty to pass around AND so that even those in a cube 14-16 hours/day can enjoy.
Wrap up to four pieces in Saran wrap, then put a couple of those into a small Ziploc bag, then put a couple of those into a larger Ziploc bag. This keeps them fresh.
A USPS Priority Mail Flat Rate Box, size medium, costs $11.35 [rate updated JAN 2012 but please check at usps.com or at the post office]. [prior to DEC 2011:] If there's any empty space and you're sending it to Camps Liberty, Slayer or Victory outside Baghdad, Iraq, please include stale bread-type items for The Fish.
The large Customs Form [PS Form 2976-A] is required. I just write "Homemade Goodies, NCV [No Commercial Value]." If applicable, I also add, "Empty Flavoring Bottle, NCV."
If you're sending via APO/DPO/FPO, Country of Destination is USA, on the box and on the Customs Form. If you write the actual country of destination, it'll be diverted to international mail and cannot be expected to get where you sent it.
Please include a note with your name, snail mail and e-mail addresses. But if they're really busy and can't send a card, don't worry if the thanks are in an e-mail.
Everyone shares everything and they'll be gone in an hour, but the warm fuzzy feeling of love from home will remain with the group for an awfully long time.
What if you really can't make something yourself? Well, if you have to buy something from a store, make it special. Don't send cheap stuff; they can get plenty of that already.
Please consider gourmet brownies [wrap them yourself as described above], really good ground [not whole bean] coffee, etc. If you can get some nice coffee from a local shop, great, but even something really good from a national chain would be greatly appreciated. Key is quality over quantity.
Make It Special.