The Frugal Café | Photo credit: Rebecca Anne, "Flora's Cup"</a> | Creative Commons License,
Photo credit: Rebecca Anne, "Flora's Cup" | Creative Commons License,

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No Pork in Iraq – What You Can Send in Care Packages to Our Troops

By Vicki McClure Davidson US soldiers and Marines, sharing toys, school supplies, and goodies with local children in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Believe it or not, there are a number of US soldiers and Marines and airmen deployed to the war zones of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kuwait who don't receive any mail from their families.

Many of these young men and women are fresh out of high school, others have been serving our country for years. They are putting their lives on the line daily, but often can't purchase basic hygiene items. Either they’re stationed in a remote area, or are on long missions "outside the wire," or their PX (military store) runs out of everyday items quickly.

While the military provides the troops with the basics, these don't always include enough of the small things we take for granted – like soap, shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant, socks, portable snacks like jerky or nuts or raisins, AA batteries, or books.

A large number of our troops do have strong support and constant communication and care packages from their families and friends back home. Some, however, do not.

Many of them are homesick, disheartened, stressed, or afraid. They desperately need a morale boost. Sending a short, supportive card or letter or a small care package of inexpensive goodies or hygiene items would mean more to them than you'll ever know.

Christmas Packages

If you're planning on sending care packages to troops during Christmas, be sure to allow ample time for the package to be delivered. Normally, when sending to most forward operating bases in Iraq, Afghanistan, or Kuwait, it takes a week to 11 days to arrive. It can take much longer for outlying bases, such as many that are situated in Afghanistan, to receive mail and packages. Consider the extra time for US post offices to send the packages to the APO/FPO address, and the time it will take for the people assigned to mail services in the war zones to sort them and get them on the right trucks. We recommend sending Christmas packages no later than December 7, to be sure that they'll arrive in good shape and well ahead of December 25.

Do NOT include homebaked items (unless you're sending it to a friend or relative), as the armed forces firmly instruct deployed troops to not eat anything unwrapped or homemade that comes from a stranger. Safety first! Additionally, homebaked goods don't travel as well because of their lack of preservatives.

If a package of homemade cookies is delayed, they could become stale or moldy before reaching their destination.

Most-Requested Items

A breakdown of the most commonly requested items, through out the year, are below.

Non-Perishable Food Items


Reading Materials

Entertainment/Toys/Sports Items/Assorted "Comfort" Items


Related Reading:
Frugal Café Blog Zone: Awesome — Dunkin’ Donuts Supports Our Deployed Troops with Free Coffee Lottery
Send It Secured: How to Properly Pack Your Morale Box for Troops
Frugal Café Blog Zone: Save Money Filling Troop Care Packages: Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Calendars, 99 Cents
Yuletide Reminder: Cards and Letters Mean Everything – 'Tis the Season for Writing to Our Troops
Awesome Troop Support: Beanies for Baghdad
Let's Say Thanks Program – Free Cards for Our Troops
Taking the Stress Out of Sending Packages to Troops: How to Properly Mail to the War Zone