By Alison Zeller
The upcoming 4th of July holiday is the perfect time to send care packages to members of your ministry who are deployed in the military. Packing care packages is easy and it could easily become a mission project for your youth group or other small groups. Get started today—packages take approximately 11 days to get to military members serving in places like Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kuwait.
If there are a few super-crafty people in your group, ask them to decorate the inside of the boxes. It’s a nice touch that really puts the care in care package. Use red, white, and blue wrapping paper and scrapbooking supplies. Use stencils to add a special message too. “Home of the Free Because of the Brave,” “Let Freedom Ring,” or simple words like honor, courage, and freedom are perfect!
So what should you include in your military care packages? Include some of the service member’s favorite things and a few of these other popular items, too. (See this link for a list of things you cannot send in a military care package!)
- Beef jerky
- Gum and hard candy
- Individual-size drink packets
- Protein bars
- Microwave popcorn
- Instant oatmeal
- Instant coffee
- Tabasco hot sauce
- Liquid freeze pops (can be frozen once they arrive at the military base)
- Lip balm
- Baby wipes
- Moisture-wicking boot socks
- Petroleum jelly
- A copy of the local newspaper
Be sure to pack food items separate from nonfood items. You don’t want the oatmeal to end up tasting like sunblock!
You’ll also want to include some meaningful items in your care packages. Ask the children in your Sunday school classes to make 4th of July cards or recruit your teens to write letters to the military members. You can also order Bible-based patriotic gifts from wwwCTAinc.com. The Real-Life Encouragement for the Military Community devotion book provides a message of encouragement, peace, and safety that deployment military members need to hear. You can view of sample of the book here.
When you’re finished packing your care packages, head to your local post office. Postal workers can help you address the box properly and fill out any necessary forms.
And, don’t let this be the last time you send care packages! Mark your calendar and aim to send care packages every other month.
Share with us! How does your church support members of the military community?
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