What You Must Know Before Sending Troop Gifts, Gift Baskets and Care Packages -- All Year 'Round

By: Helen Hecker

Our deployed troop members lack many necessities and can use hard-to-get items for 'bargaining chips' to get what they do need. It's important to know what our troops need or don't need, whether to send troops gifts in a box or gift basket and how to prepare and ship packages properly.

Members of our troops get more than the usual number of gift packages during the holidays but need to be remembered throughout the year. There are many items they need for both personal use and 'bargaining chips,” Most people aren't aware of the fact that our deployed servicemen and women can use many items just to trade for what they need.

The most powerful sought after 'bargaining chip' is Copenhagen Snuff & Chew in a tin. Sending ten tins of this hard-to-get item is highly recommended. A large percentage of the infantry 'dips' snuff and particularly 'Hagen' is coveted. The snuff they receive comes in a plastic container and tastes terrible, report many troop members. Sending tins of snuff is not meant to encourage an unhealthy habit but to use for bargaining purposes.

Other items of importance for both personal use and bargaining include: pre-paid phone cards, zipper-style plastic freezer bags in assorted sizes, eye wash and eye drops for flushing sand, dust and other particles out of the eyes, AA-cell batteries, disposable razors, toothbrushes, toothpaste, chewing gum, Avon Skin So Soft Original Bath Oil Spray for removing face paint and possible mosquito repellant, powdered energy electrolyte replacement drinks, Atomic FireBall or Jolly Rancher candy, seasoning salt, shelled peanuts, shelled sunflower seeds, TABASCO or Trappey’s Red Devil Cayenne Pepper Sauce, beef jerky or the foot-long Slim Jims, energy bars, and baby wipes in packets, not in tubs, for taking field baths.

Items NOT to send include: anything that melts, like chocolate, except M&M'S, waterless hand cleaner or sanitizers (make mud - send only baby wipes in the packets instead), flashlights (can't use due to 'visible light' discipline restrictions), compass (they already have), sunscreen (they have plenty), liquor or pornography.

Shipping of the items should be done carefully. As gift basket experts we’ve come to know that a gift basket is a great idea, but a basket may not always be useful to our servicemen and women either. You have to carefully think about what they really need. The items I listed above can be arranged and nested in a box to mimic a gift basket arrangement.

You need a sturdy box, pack the items carefully, seal well with packing tape, consider the weight when choosing items and make sure you have the correct address. The U. S. Department of Defense urges "......the general public not to send unsolicited mail, care packages or donations to service members 'forward deployed' unless you're a family member, loved one or personal friend." Donating money to an appropriate charity that can best dispense the important items, is recommended instead.

Our 'forward deployed' troop members can use gifts of hard-to-get personal necessities and 'bargaining chips' any time of the year. And knowing the ins and outs will save you a lot of returned packages and grief.

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Helen Hecker heads Twin Peaks Press a 25-year-old PR, marketing, publishing co., publishes “Helen’s Hecker’s Biz Hotline” for small/home biz/entrepreneurs, publishes books, gift basket DVDs, “Helen Hecker’s Health Secrets Hotline,” websites include www.howtomakebeautifulgiftbaskets.com

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