Put anything that could leak or melt or has a scent in an zipper-style bag (zip lock bagging something along that line). DO NOT include food items in a care package with ANY hygiene items or chemicals of any type. If food is in the same box as something like soap in extreme heat, it can end up tasting like soap. So enclose hygiene items in a zipper-style bag.
Use a sturdy box and cover all previous labels and markings with heavy black marker or adhesive labels. (They can confuse and slow down processing). Fill all extra space with foam, peanuts, newspaper, bubble wrap or popcorn. Double tape all seams with strong packing tape.
I suggest using the USPS flat rate boxes. No matter which Flat Rate Box you choose, the postage is the same, regardless of weight and destination. This is anywhere in the U.S., and DOES include any APO/FPO mailing address as well. Call toll free to order free supplies: 1-800-610-8734. Boxes come in a couple different sizes and they also have envelopes.
You can also request a "CARE KIT" for mailing packages to the military by calling 1-800-610-8734. The kit contains 4 Priority Mail boxes, 6 Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes, 10 Priority Mail labels, 1 roll of Priority Mail tape, and 10 customs forms with envelopes. There is no charge for the kit.
Send in easy to handle boxes (say under 10 pounds). Big heavy boxes are just asking for trouble. Use heavy packing tape on all corners of the box, and wrap the tape so it goes all the way around in every direction of the box. Packages must weigh less then 70 lbs and be smaller the 130 inches in total length and girth.
Take your package to the post office and fill out customs declaration and dispatch note. Postal services form 2976-A (Customs Form) is required for all mail weighing 16 ounces or more. In addition, mailers must properly complete required customs documentation on any potentially dutiable mail addressed to an APO or FPO regardless of weight.
All mail is subject to X-ray so fill out a customs form accurately. Not putting on there that there is an electrical device and putting a few bars of soap in may cause an innocent package to be blown to bits because it looks like an explosive device of some kind.
In the upper left corner, write your complete return address (packages without return address might be discarded).
It is recommended that you stop sending packages to your troop one month before they are expected home. Military bases usually stop all mail one month before redeployment.
Slim Jim's, Cracker's.... Ritz, ETC, Chips (best in tubes as bags can burst), Little Debbie snack cakes, Rice krispy treats, Dry Cereal, Kraft Easy Mac, Microwave Popcorn, Beef Jerky,Granola bars, Dried fruit, Chex Mix, Canned food (ring pull top kind), Tuna or Chicken (canned or in a pouch), Spices, Oatmeal, Salsa, Salad Dressing, Instant soups, Fast food condiments, Ramen noodles & cup a soup, Pop Tarts, Sugar (in packets or cubes), Nuts, Trail Mix, Sauces... Hot sauce, ETC, Instant Rice, Cereal (small boxes), Instant Pastas, Pretzels
Instant Coffee, Powdered Gatorade, Powered Hot Chocolate, Kool-aid (presweetened), Tea bags, Coffee creamer (dry), Instant Ice Tea, Crystal Light packets
Hard Candy, Bubble gum/chewing gum (not stick for they can melt in the heat), Lollipops, Marshmallows, Roll aids, Cough drops, Twizzlers, Life Savers
TOILETERY/HYGIENE/FIRST AID (FOR ALL)
Clorox wipes, Baby Wipes, Razors (Disposable), Shaving gel (no aerosols please), Shampoo Conditioner, Soap, Body wash, Deodorant, Eye drops, Chapstick, Lip Balm, Sun Block, Skin so soft (Avon) or similar, Baby lotion, Baby powder, Combs/brushes, Cotton Balls, Liquid Hand sanitizer, Contact lens cleaner, Nail files, Hand Warmers, Nyquil & Dayquil, Tissues (handy packs), Toilet tissue, pain med's... Advil, Excedrin, ETC, Wash clothes (dark colors), Hair gel, Band aids, Bug spray, Q-Tips
Toothpaste, Toothbrush, Mouth wash, Dental Floss, Breath mints
Office Supplies, Paper, Envelopes, Journals (Note: Our troops do not need stamps as they're in war zones & may send mail home for free)
Puzzles, Yo-Yo's, Travel Games, Playing cards, Puzzle books, Frisbees, Hackie sacks
DVD'S, CD'S, Phone Cards, Paperback Books, Magazines, Batteries (D, AAA, AA mostly), Disposable cameras, Handmade items, Comics & jokes, Hats (for hot & cold weather), Bandanas, Nose spray, Travel wash detergent (cold water), Pictures drawn by children, Letter from yourself, Seasonal Items... for Easter, 4th of July, Christmas, ETC, Sweat bands (to wear under helmet), Sewing kits (travel size), Pipe Cleaners, Plastic spoons, forks, knives, Paper plates, Ziploc bags (various sizes), Duct tape, Fly strips, Fly swatters, Insoles for shoes
PLEASE NOTE THAT THE FOLLOWING CAN NOT BE SENT:
Chocolate or anything that can melt
Anything that contains PORK
No WAR type materials or toys