Give Extra Special Care Packages for Soldiers

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My family has a tradition of making care packages on Thanksgiving day.  This year we’re going to make and give extra special care packages for soldiers.  These are easy to make and a wonderful way to celebrate Thanksgiving and share your gratefulness with our troops.  During Desert Storm and Operation Enduring Freedom, I saw first hand how much deployed troops appreciate receiving care packages.

When I was in the Air Force, I was in Transportation and worked in the aerial port moving troops and cargo on aircraft.   I helped shipped tons (literally, tons) of cards, letters and care packages to deployed troops.  When my unit was deployed, we received care packages from people we didn’t know  Those cards and care packages were always a wonder – that someone who didn’t know you took the time to put together and send you their appreciation.  Those cards and care packages really do help raise spirits.

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Because I’ve seen the positive impact that a care package can have, we’ll be making care packages for our deployed troops this year.  Start with a bag to put the care package contents in.  You can make a cloth bag or use a seal top plastic bag.

Some of our favorite care package treats for deployed troops are:


Hard or Chewy Candy (not chocolate, which can melt)  

Granola Bars

Beef Jerkey  

Tuna Packets   

Trail Mix  


Powdered Drink Mix      

Small Packs of Tissues

Small Packs of Baby Wipes



Lip Balm


Dental Floss

Moleskin – You can find it near foot care items in your drug store.  If you’ve ever walked miles in combat boots, you’ll understand why moleskin is a valued gift

A Hand-Written Note or picture – A card or picture from a child is so sweet and uncomplicated.  Be sure to write a note saying how much you appreciate the service member  and that you are thinking of him or her.  Keep your note upbeat and encouraging.

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 To make these care packages special this year, we’re going to use Extra gum and use this free printable.  You’ll need white card stock paper, a paper-cutter or scissors, and double stick tape.

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Print the free printable out on the card stock.  Trim the card stock so that it’s 2  7/8″ wide and 4  1/4″ long.   Place the wrapper so that the image is centered on the Extra gum pack.  I just use my finger to press the creases in the wrapper so that it fits around the Extra gum box.  Use the double stick tape to secure the wrapper to the Extra gum package. 

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I can’t stand to waste anything, so I printed 4 of these images per page.  I’ll be honest, the wrapper is about a half an inch short in the back.  

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 I just taped the wrapper to the box and it works great. But if that gap bothers you, just cut 2 wrappers from each piece of card stock.

These extra special gum packs will let the troops know that you put special effort into thanking them.  Please join me in supporting our troops and give extra special care packages for soldiers. You can find more creative ideas on how to give Extra gum to thank someone special on Pinterest or Facebook.

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  1. Hi Susan – What a great idea to show gratitude at Thanksgiving. Especially now that our troops are being drawn down more overseas, I hope that our country doesn’t forget those who are serving. Thank you for such an important reminder. Hugs, Holly

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  3. What a great gift pack. I love the addition of gum, when it is so hot, it really helps you feel hydrated. We used to send my Father gift packs when he was in Vietnam – we always sent cheese in a crockery container. Times have changed. This is a great idea.

  4. What a great idea! As we head into the holidays, it’s so important to remember everyone who gives “extra”…and our troops abroad really deserve a special thank you. Thanks for sharing the idea! #client

  5. Great idea, and your list of goodies is spot on! Hope you had a nice Veteran’s day! Thank you for your service!

  6. Did I miss an address? I’m wondering how you know where to send them. Thanks for the information, if you have it.

    1. Thanks for asking. One of my favorite organizations is, but if you do a search, there are other worthwhile organizations that facilitate sending care packages to deployed troops.

  7. Hi Susan, My grandson just went to Afghanistan, and my daughter was told that if jerky was listed that the post office would open the package and remove it. Have you ever seen or heard of that??

    These packages are wonderful for so many people. Thanks for all the ideas and help from your website.

    1. Please thank your grandson and your family for his service, Susie. I’ve sent many, many care packages overseas to Iraq and Afghanistan and never had a problem with sending beef jerky. I just did a search and found one newspaper article from 2003 that mentions that the post office wouldn’t accept beef jerky. I usually list more general categories on the customs form like snacks, candy, cookies, chips rather than specifically listing beef jerky and other items, so maybe that’s why I never had a problem. Most military care package websites list beef jerky as a suggested item to include and in fact some beef jerky companies will mail directly to deployed troops for you, so I’m not sure what to tell you. I recommend your daughter call the post office for clarification. I’ll keep your grandson in my thoughts and prayers.

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