How to Support Deployed US Troops

Every American knows that the military has done more for the country than any industry in American history. Not only that, but the military has, directly or indirectly, built the foundation for our nation, and the highway our progress has traveled for more than 225 years. The troops need our support, to know they are appreciated, as they are often called to distant lands far from American soil. Below are ideas and suggestions on how you can support our troops during their deployment.


  1. Image titled Support Deployed US Troops Step 1
    Look for an organization to join. The military mail will no longer accept mail to 'any soldier' since 9/11 because of security reasons. Organizations can get addresses of Chaplains, FOBs (Forward Operating Bases), or base commanders who can receive care packages and mail. Often addresses come to organizations from families.
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    Check out the organization you plan to join. Make sure it is not only legitimate, but that it has a good reputation. There are organizations out there that only want your money. Do they have any awards? From whom? Look at those pages.
  3. Image titled Support Deployed US Troops Step 3
    Contact the main office of the organizations. Is there open information? Do they list their office phone numbers, email, address, list of corporate officers, and links to their financial information? Get the necessary information on membership. Some questions to ask may be: What obligations are there? Are there any dues? If there are other monies exchanged, how are they spent? Can they tell you where their money goes? Don't be afraid to call their office and ask some pointed questions.
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    Decide on an organization to join. Get involved with people from that organization who have the experience. They can help you along the way, avoid mistakes, and make your membership fun.
  5. Image titled Support Deployed US Troops Step 5
    Go to the mall and talk to the recruiters. Many of them have been forward deployed recently. They can be very helpful. Thank them for their service while you're there.
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    Use the USPS Flat Rate shipping. You can put anything in the box as long as it fits, up to 70 pounds for domestic mail. You will have to use a customs form, but an APO or FPO address is considered domestic.
  7. Image titled Support Deployed US Troops Step 7
    Choose items to send. There is a long list of items that can be very useful to the troops (see Tips). Imagine a year-long camping trip. What would you need if you were 18 years old?
  8. Image titled Support Deployed US Troops Step 8
    Adopt a service member. Get an address and other information about your adoptee. Consider committing to a 6 - 12 month obligation. You may never hear from him/her, but the important thing is that they hear from you and they are supported. Adopt one at first. If all goes well you might want to adopt another later.
  9. Image titled Support Deployed US Troops Step 9
    Send one or two care packages and as many letters and cards as you can send every month. There are a lot of people serving overseas who get little or no mail at all.


  • If you are not from the US, you can contact contact your country's defense organization or defense ministry to find out how you can to support your deployed troops.
  • For packages, print on one side only with the recipient’s address in the lower right portion.
  • Here are some ideas for what to send:
    • Blankets, Phone Cards, Slippers, Cards, Letters of Encouragement, Solid grey or black T-Shirts, Lounge Pajamas, Hand-held Games, Snacks and Goodies, Lip Balm (Chapstick), Personal hygiene items (deodorant, shampoo, etc), Lotions,
    • Backpacks, Bug Repellent, Sun Block, Drink Mix, Magazines, Books, CD Players, CDs and DVDs, Gift Cards (Department Store), Restaurant Gift Cards (Hospitals only), Sewing Kits
  • There are a couple of sites that can help with ideas of what kind of items to send:

    • Soldiers' Angels has 20 programs you can get involved in ranging from fund raisers, supporting the wounded, and adoptions, to donations, family support, and shipping boxes.
    • Minimus has loads of low cost supplies that can be made into care packages.
  • Call or visit the Post Office and get flat rate boxes. They will send you everything you need for free. You get four sizes of boxes, a roll of tape, US Customs forms including plastic covers, and address labels. They are generous with the supplies.
  • The discussion page is open to ideas on what to send. Veterans are welcome to post comments there. Here is a partial list. There are several fine organizations who do the same.
  • Ask the post office for shipping guidance if you are unsure. When you get your shipping supplies, you will get an instruction booklet if you get the flat-rate bundle.
  • There are other ways to support the Troops. Here is a webpage with an increasing number of ideas and programs.


  • This is a serious job for serious people. Soldiers need support and the last thing you want to do is cause any additional stress.
  • Never write to a service member's commander asking why he/she doesn't write or email! This has happened. Hard earned trust and confidence have been lost, and undue stress and aggravation have been the result.
  • Be aware of the forbidden items that you should not send into certain countries. There are some countries where you may not send anything at all. You may be able to send through the embassy or consulate of that country, but make sure. The following items are very likely to be forbidden:
    • Obscene articles (prints, paintings, cards, films, videotapes, etc).
    • Any matter depicting nude or partially nude persons, pornographic or sexual items, or unauthorized political materials.
    • Bulk quantities of religious materials contrary to the local faith or religion. Items for the personal use of the addressee are permissible.
    • Pork or pork by-products.
    • Alcohol.
    • Open containers, fresh baked goods, flammable items, or pressurized containers.
    • Tobacco, unpackaged items, bulk fluids.
  • If you send something illegal your whole package may be destroyed. You're out your money, and you may be legally liable.
  • Review guidelines to find out if there are any sanctions of which you need to be aware when mailing overseas.

Things You'll Need

  • USPS flat-rate shipping boxes. Available in 4 sizes.
  • One roll of sturdy packing tape.
  • One packet of US Customs Forms complete with plastic weather jackets.
  • One packet of Domestic Shipping Labels.
  • One set of instructions.
    • All of these can be ordered from the USPS website; phone order 1-800-275-8777; or in person at any US Post Office.

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Categories: Volunteer and Community Service