While the arrival of Memorial Day feels like the official kickoff to summer, with its BBQs and beach weekends, we think it’s important to take the time to remember what the holiday is truly about - honoring the brave men and women who lost their lives while serving in our country’s armed forces. Together as a family, we like to remember our family members who served and passed away, and also to talk about our loved ones who currently serve - because they deserve to be honored, too!
We imagine that days like Memorial Day are especially difficult for our servicemen and women, as they mourn the loss of close friends and colleagues each year. To help remind them that they’re appreciated and loved on this hard day, we love the idea of sending them a special care package filled with treats from home. Here are some ideas we’ve found for creating the perfect care package!
If your loved one is serving somewhere far away or out of the country, they’ll probably appreciate some treats from home more than you might imagine. Look for special items from a local spot they love, like a hot sauce from their favorite restaurant or nonperishable treats (like candies or roasted nuts) from your neighborhood bakery. Or, a jar or some packets of their favorite Spread The Love® spreads, perhaps? We also love this list from Support Our Troops that lists some of the goods and food items that troops serving overseas usually need the most - it includes some things you might not otherwise think about like batteries, gift cards, and hygiene products.
If your care package recipient is serving somewhere closer to home, you might consider baking them a little something special, as well - there’s nothing like a batch of mom’s brownies or cookies to remind you of home! We love the idea of sending a batch of our Ultra-Fudgy Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies or Salted Honey Stuffed Peanut Butter Cookies to someone special. To keep treats fresh, it’s recommended to wrap treats individually or in groups of two, and to pack them well in a rigid container to avoid breakage.
An important note: when sending home-baked goodies, try to keep delivery conditions in mind. For example, if your recipient is stationed in a far-away desert zone, packages can take weeks to arrive and often are stored in very hot places, so a fresh-baked brownie probably won’t survive the trip.
For more tips and ideas for sending care packages to service members, we love the following resources:
Support Our Troops
USPS, "Sending Military & Diplomatic Mail"
The Military Wife
Jo, My Gosh
The Kitchn, "Mailing Food to Troops Overseas”
Or, to donate care packages to troops, first responders, and their families, check out Operation Gratitude.
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