Care Packages For Troops

During extended periods of time away from home, getting something in the mail can be a powerful morale-booster, conveying love, support, and comfort. For our troops, beyond the tangible items included, it’s a way to stay connected during deployment.

As families, friends, and citizens eager to support our soldiers, here’s a comprehensive guide on everything you need to know about sending care packages for troops stationed overseas or in the states.

Military Care Package Ideas

If you’re wondering what’s practical and thoughtful, we have you covered with this curated list:

What To Send In A Military Care Package?

  • Letters and Photos: Include personalized elements like handwritten messages expressing love and encouragement, cherished family photos, and uplifting quotes to boost morale in the form of inspirational letters, photos, and drawings.

  • Snacks and Treats: Opt for non-perishable options like trail mix, beef jerky, granola bars, chocolate, nuts, and dried fruit, as these can provide a taste of comfort from home.

  • Personal Care Items: Include travel-sized toiletries such as shampoo, body wash, toothpaste, and deodorant, alongside disposable razors, shaving cream, lip balm, moisturizer, sunscreen, and small packs of napkins and tampons. Don’t forget miniature hygiene essentials like wet wipes and travel-sized tissue packs for added convenience.

  • Entertainment: Entertain with puzzle books, playing cards, or travel-sized board games. Include earphones or headphones for music or podcasts, magazines for leisure, and even a personalized playlist on a USB drive, filled with familiar tunes.

  • Useful Supplies: Ensure the care package is equipped with notepads and stationery, envelopes, pens and pencils, a small flashlight, duct tape, and batteries. Quality writing materials, durable envelopes, a compact multi-tool, and spare batteries for devices can prove invaluable.

  • Clothing and Accessories: Don’t forget practical items such as moisture-wicking socks, comfortable underwear or undershirts, and hats or bandanas for sun protection. High-quality socks, breathable undergarments, and a durable, wide-brimmed hat can enhance their comfort in various conditions.

  • Seasonal Items: Consider sending weather-appropriate items like winter gloves and scarves or lightweight, breathable clothing for warmer climates to ensure our troops are well-prepared for the conditions they may face.

What Not To Send In A Military Care Package?

To ensure you don’t end up in hot water for sending a military care package, here’s a list of restricted items to keep in mind:

  • Alcohol and Drugs: Refrain from sending alcohol, recreational drugs, or any controlled substances. Instead, opt for non-alcoholic alternatives like tea or instant coffee.

  • Weapons and Dangerous Items: Prioritize the safety of the recipient and those handling your care package by keeping firearms, knives, ammunition, and explosives off the list.

  • Inappropriate or Explicit Content: Exclude items containing explicit language, adult content, or offensive material.

  • Perishable Food: Skip items that can spoil quickly, such as fresh fruits, vegetables, or dairy products. Instead, choose non-perishable snacks like nuts, trail mix, and dried fruits.

  • Large or Bulky Items: Steer clear of large or bulky items due to limited storage space. Opt for compact and practical items that won’t be cumbersome for the recipient.

  • Highly Fragile Items: Avoid sending delicate or breakable items that may not survive the shipping process. Opt for sturdy and durable goods that can withstand handling.

  • Aerosol Products: Skip items like aerosol deodorants or sprays, as they may have restrictions due to pressurized containers.

  • Flammable Items: Exercise caution and exclude anything flammable, including candles or certain types of electronics. Safety is paramount in military care packages.

  • Medications Without Prescription: Only include medications with a valid prescription to ensure the recipient’s health and safety. Avoid sending over-the-counter medications without proper guidance.

Guidelines And Restrictions

When sending a care package, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the particular policies and limitations of the military branch and training facility. Keep in mind that there are different regulations for care packages sent to military members when they are at boot camp. These regulations may specify the permitted items, the frequency of care package delivery, and their sizes.

Additionally, it’s important to note regional rules that vary depending on the location:

  • Singapore: Avoid including gum since chewing gum is illegal in Singapore.

  • Middle East: Exclude pork products, and for women, refrain from sending clothing that reveals the stomach or knees. Respect for these regional regulations ensures compliance and a smooth delivery process.

Soldier Receiving a Care Package

Other Ways To Send Meaningful Gifts For Deployed Soldiers

In a world increasingly connected through technology, the power to make a difference lies in our hands—literally. Consider supporting our active-duty soldiers and veterans by contributing to Cell Phones For Soldiers, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing crucial communication resources. Here’s how you can make a meaningful impact:

1. Donate Used Cell Phones, Chargers, and MP3 Players:

Your old, unused devices can find new purpose in the hands of those who serve our country. By donating used cell phones, chargers, and MP3 players, you are not only decluttering your space but also helping connect soldiers with their loved ones. 

2. Monetary Donations:

If you prefer to donate to troops directly, monetary donations are welcomed, helping to cover the costs of communication services for soldiers. Your financial contribution ensures that the organization can continue providing free talk time, prepaid international calling cards, and other essential communication services to those serving far from home.

Visit our donation page to explore easy and secure donation options. 

How To Send Care Packages To Military Overseas

Care packages for troops stationed overseas is a meaningful way to show support and appreciation. Here’s a guide on how to navigate the process, ensuring your package reaches its destination with care:


Start by researching the specific regulations and guidelines provided by the military branch regarding care packages. Each branch may have different rules, restrictions, and recommendations, especially when it comes to items that are permitted or prohibited. Typically, you can locate this information through the base’s information system or on the official website of the branch.


Package your items securely to withstand the shipping process. Ensure fragile items are well-padded, and use sturdy boxes to protect contents. Include a packing list detailing the items enclosed, and affix the recipient’s details clearly on the package.


Accurately address the package, following the military’s guidelines for formatting the address. Include the service member’s full name, unit, APO/FPO (Army Post Office/Fleet Post Office) address, and the appropriate ZIP code. Be sure to use the correct customs declaration forms for international shipping.

Customs Declaration

Fill out a customs declaration form if you are sending something abroad. This form assists customs officers in processing the package by giving information about the contents of the shipment.

Go To The Post Office

To navigate the intricacies of sending mail to APO/FPO addresses, visit your local post office. Postal workers are well-versed in the necessary processes and can guide you through the specific requirements for sending packages to military personnel stationed overseas. 


Choose a reliable shipping carrier that offers services to APO/FPO addresses. Familiarize yourself with shipping options and estimated delivery times. Consider tracking services to monitor the package’s journey and ensure its timely arrival.

Pay for Shipping

Keep in mind that shipping costs will depend on the package’s weight, size, destination, and shipping speed.

Tracking And Insurance

Consider getting the package tracked and insured. This will let you to keep tabs on the status of your package and guarantees reimbursement in the event of loss or damage.

How Long Does It Usually Take For A Care Package To Reach Its Destination?

The delivery time for a care package is influenced by several factors and varies depending on:

  • Postal and Military Services: The efficiency of the postal service and military mail processing greatly impacts delivery time. Each step in the mailing process, from the initial drop-off to the military post’s handling, contributes to the overall duration.

  • Country of Destination: The destination plays a crucial role. Shipping to different countries involves varying logistical complexities, and the distance from the sender to the military base or overseas location influences the delivery timeline.

  • Customs Clearance: Customs procedures can introduce additional time to the delivery process. The clearance process ensures compliance with the regulations of the destination country, and the time it takes may vary depending on the efficiency of customs operations.

How to Send Care Packages For Military For Free?

While there aren’t explicitly free shipping services, some initiatives can help minimize costs for sending military care packages. Utilize services such as the United States Postal Service (USPS), which offers free military care kit boxes and reduced postage rates for packages sent to APO/FPO/DPO addresses. 

Want To Learn More?

To explore more ways to support our troops and for additional information, visit our FAQ page. If you have any questions or need assistance, feel free to contact us—we’re here to help you make a positive impact on those serving in the military.

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Self-Paid Label

Thank you for taking the extra step to cover shipping costs for your donated devices! Not only is your device donation tax-deductible, so are the shipping costs. 

Simply click and print this preaddressed label and follow the shipping instructions below:

1. Count the number of donated phones for your records.

2. Place the phones flat across the bottom of the box and layer them with newspaper or bubblewrap to avoid damage.

3. Keep batteries attached to phones. If there is no battery, place tape over terminal ends.

4. Due to federal shipping regulations, you must print a battery warning label for each package. Click here to print. Affix one label to the outside of each box. 

5. You must affix (USPS) or a prepay waybill (UPS, FedEx, DHL) in order for your package to reach us.

5. You will not receive an e-mail confirmation when your package arrives. Click here to print a donation receipt.