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When members of the military are deployed, they are often sent overseas, where they are far removed from their families and friends. During this time, they are subject to different cultures and environments, and for some, there is also the very real risk of hostility and danger. These deployments can be lengthy, and as a result, there may be a decrease in morale, as troops often miss their families, friends, homes, and the things that normally make up their lives. Civilians, whether they are friends or strangers, can show these brave men and women that their service is appreciated in a number of ways. This includes sending them packages of goodies or volunteering to help with the upkeep of their homes. How a person chooses to show their appreciation and gratitude will often depend on their relationship with the serviceman or servicewoman. Regardless, these efforts are welcome and can brighten a soldier's day or leave them with a sense of reassurance that things are going well at home.
Caring for the Military
Most people are familiar with the concept of care packages, yet they may not be as familiar with their background. The history of care packages goes back to the end of World War II as a form of humanitarian aid. The original CARE (Cooperative for American Remittance to Europe) packages were boxes of military food surplus that were sent to Europeans suffering from food shortages. Today, "care package" has become a term that is used whenever a package is sent to support someone who is away from their regular home environment. They are one of the easiest and most popular ways for people to show respect and gratitude to American troops. While family members often send care packages to their military spouses, children, or siblings, there are also organizations that have formed to manage and send care packages from caring individuals who may not personally know anyone in the military. During times of conflict, groups and organizations such as churches, workplaces, and schools may gather goods and send care packages to troops serving abroad.
When sending care packages, one should include items that are useful, entertaining, or tasty. Some items that are commonly sent to military personnel include toiletries such as toothbrushes, shampoo, or shaving lotion. Personal care items may include lip balm and lotion, which are good for individuals stationed in dry, hot regions. For entertainment, send items such as books, board games, Frisbees, playing cards, and hand-held electronic games One may also include notepads and pens, phone cards, and batteries. Food is one of the most potent reminders of home, and it can quickly raise morale. Examples of food items to send include ramen noodles, nuts, nutrition bars, canned or dried fruit, cookies, candy, and beef jerky. Powdered drink mixes can also be included in a care package.
Caring for the Home
People who prefer to show their gratitude in a different, more hands-on way can offer to help members of the military care for their homes. Often, members of the service are also homeowners. When they are deployed overseas, they are unable to perform the routine maintenance needed to keep their houses in good condition. Thoughtful friends, neighbors, church members, or family can help by volunteering their time to perform maintenance tasks such as mowing the lawn, keeping the home aired out and the pipes flowing, and checking for any other problems that may arise. Handy friends may even perform simple home repairs if they are needed.
SHALOM FROM SPIKE & JAMIE
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