I received an e-mail from a Smart Shopper reader the other day that I thought some of you would like to read. With all these triples and super doubles and regular doubles promotions, I know we are all getting alot of freebies and items that are pretty close to free. If you are running out of space and looking for a good place to donate, this may be a good option for you. The woman who sent the e-mail has a brother in the Marines. He is in Afghanistan and she is sending him and his fellow Marines care packages. Here is what Liz, the sister, had to say:
"My brother called again today and just gave me a better picture of the conditions over there.
Heres what he described....
There is NO running water...any water they get is brought in and dropped from helicopters. Because of that, they use porta-potties. The toilet paper (if you want to call it that, is TERRIBLE)...its exceptionally hot even in the middle of the night..usually in the 90's....120's during the day sometimes....
They have a mini fridge in their office, a microwave, and thats it....
Electricity is limited so they cant have alot of things that plug-in, etc.
So, with all that being said, heres a list of things that can be donated...
1) wet wipes or facial wipes-they can put these in their camis and its a nice way to feel somewhat clean during a hot day or when the 2 minute showers arent enough.
2)paper bowls- they have the oatmeal packs, etc...but nothing to mix them in.
3) napkins or paper towels- (although paper towels are kinda big and bulky to send)
4) trail mixes- or any type of individual packaged nuts.
5) beef jerky or slim jims
6) granola bars-chewy or hard but nothing thats dipped in chocolate
7) chewing gum or bubble gum
8) tuna packets (no cans) but the pouches that are flavored or chicken ones...
9) any kind of sauces, hot sauce, A1, heinz 57, barbecue, honey mustard....nothing mayonaise based and no ranches...
11) splenda packets
12) #2 pencils, and RETRACTABLE erasers....(they kind of function like a box-cutter but are all eraser)
13) toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental floss
14)anything sweet as long as its not chocolate candy b/c that will melt. A great idea for dessert are those cake things in a bowl that you add one Tlb and one tsp of water and then they mix it up.....its like a hot brownie or cake and they LOVE those.
15) Any flavored inserts for their water....breaks up the monotony of just water..
16) Fabric sheets for the dryer...(these help make their tents smell fresh....they put them in their cots, clothes, etc.
17) baby powder....helps with keeping the sand off.
18) any and all magazines (current news, people, sports, etc) even if they are older...it gives them some mindless reading on the few occasions they get it.
19) prepackaged cookies snacks from Costco, Sams, etc are great...as they stay fresh and are easy to put out.
21) Cough drops
22) SMALL hand sanitizers pocket size preferably
23)Kleenex, small ones if you can find them.
24)any and ALL letters and artwork from kids is appreciated...the soldiers really get motivated and reminded whats back home when they see those.
25) deodorant for guys and girls
26)sunflower seeds that have the shells on them
27)rice thats already cooked in the pouches- I think uncle bens has some out, etc
28) foot powder that helps with odors in the boots, etc...
They also need:
Moth balls, preferably something scented or even better the cedar ones.(Moths are horrific out there, my brother says they are the size of locusts out there and are everywhere.)
Batteries-(any batteries but the 9V-square one)
LED flashlights, preferable something small and compact.
Battery operated fans (usually small and can be found with camping equip or at REI)
As for food, anything that you just add water to and eat, like the pasta meals, etc
Power bars (focus being on higher protein and low on fiber)- those can be dipped in choc as they are stored in a fridge.
Items NOT to send:
Anything glass, alcohol, tobacco, chocolate coated candy, liquid and anything that cant stand heat of 120 degrees....
No cans, drinks (unless its powder inserts,etc)
I'm putting together things and mailing them as I get them..So, if whoever wants to donate, I can meet up to get it, or give my address to drop it off....
Also, for whomever is interested, they can contact me directly thru email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On behalf of my brother and sister-in-law, both Marines, thank you so much for passing this along and for any and all donations that we get...these guys are living in horrific conditions and small things like this from home can go along way in keeping morale up especially since they are there until at least November..It means alot since almost 2/3rds of these men never recieve anything from home..."
So, if you are interested in donating to Liz's brother, send her an e-mail at email@example.com.