How to Send a Care Package to a Soldier Overseas
Those serving in the armed forces overseas always appreciate care packages from family, friends, or even strangers. During the holidays, these packages are especially important to keep up troop morale.
If you are interested in sending a care package to troops stationed overseas, you have several options.
Whether you want to contribute money towards packages, send letters and items yourself, or assist organizations in creating and sending packages, know that our deployed troops will appreciate your efforts.
Step One: Determine Who Will Be Receiving Your Package
In order to send a package overseas, you will first need to know the information of the person receiving the package. The U.S. Post Office requires the recipient’s name and rank, their unit, and the APO/FPO/DPO address with 9-digit ZIP Code, as well as a return address. The Post Office recommends using the following formats:
Army/Air Post Office (APO)
PFC JOHN DOE
PSC 3 BOX 4120
APO AE 09021
Fleet Post Office (FPO)
SEAMAN JOSEPH SMITH
USS BELLEAU WOOD
UNIT 100100 BOX 4120
FPO AP 96691
Diplomatic Post Office (DPO)
UNIT 8400 BOX 0000
DPO AE 09498-0048
Previously, packages could be addressed to Any Service Member and they would be delivered to the bases and distributed. The rules have changed, and these packages will now be rejected without a name.
If you know the persons name, but not contact information, the Public Relations Office of the soldiers base should be able to give you that information. If you would like to send a package to a soldier at random, organizations like Any Soldier can give you the contact information of a person who needs a care package.
Remember when you are addressing the packages that you should NOT include the city or country names. This will keep the packages from entering foreign mail networks.
Step Two: Carefully Pack Items for International Transit
Care packages often take days or weeks to reach their destinations. They can be jostled around and are frequently exposed to harsh weather conditions.
It is a good idea to put nearly everything in water-tight bags. This will prevent things like toilet paper from getting wet, shampoo from getting spilled, and keep sand out of food items.
Try not to ship anything that could possibly melt. Food items like chocolate often dissolve into a mess before they ever reach their destinations. Make sure that items are packaged securely, and wont break if they are dropped or mishandled.
Step 3: Fill Out Your Customs Certificates
When you send a care package, you are responsible for making sure that the contents pass customs and are allowed into the country where you are shipping the goods. You will need to fill out a form declaring the contents of your package, and if it contains any banned items it will likely be rejected. Make sure you are complying with both military and foreign regulations before you ship your package.
For example, many countries in the Middle East prohibit items like alcohol, pork products, or pornography. If your package contains banned items, it will be confiscated. Check out what is and isnt approved before you spend the time and money to ship your care package.
Step Four: Follow All the Shipping Directions
Make sure you have the correct amount of postage for your package to reach its destination. If postage is insufficient, your items may get returned to you or the package may get held in transit. Double check the postage you need with your local Post Office before you schedule your package pickup.
It is also a good idea to put a second piece of paper inside the package with your return address or contact information, as the information outside the box often becomes illegible during transit.
By following the steps above, you can make sure that your box of holiday cheer reaches our troops overseas. From all of us at Vets National Advocates, thank you for taking the time to thank our troops for all of their sacrifices.
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