If you know active duty service personnel directly:
Collect items to ship that are meaningful for your deployed service member. Personal gifts can help them to feel emotionally connected despite their distance. Drawings from children, hand-written letters from family and friends, and printed photos are perfect examples. A USB or external drive can include their style of music, movies or home-videos to provide hours of entertainment. Despite not being with you for a home-cooked meal, you know their preferences for non-perishable foods or their favorite sauce/flavoring packets to enhance their meals.
Be sure to prepare early to make sure your package has time to travel. The U.S. Postal Service recommends these shipping dates for both domestic and international shipping estimates. Double check rates when you’re paying for shipping as there could be discounts for APO/FPO/DPO addresses.
If you wish to support active duty service members, but don’t have a direct connection:
Make your donation count for double! Johnson+Johnson is matching donations to the USO Wishbook through December 31st, 2018. You choose the amount to donate by suggested gifts, knowing that it will count for double and benefit troops for the holidays and all year long.
Join others to send care packages. A good number of organizations focus on specific items to collect or support a specific service branch or location. The Department of Defense gathered and vetted a list of care package organizations on their website. Click through to find one that matches your interested method for support.
Your support matters.
Whichever way you connect and show your support, know that your efforts are felt by the service men and women who can’t be home for the holidays. Every family member who takes time to send long-distance care in a box and every person who donates time or money brings warmth to the season. Let those who are serving know that while they may be far from their house, they are not far from home.