Wednesday, November 19, 2008

CHRISTMAS STOCKINGS FOR THE TROOPS - 2008

It is very exciting to be sponsoring the Christmas stocking project again this year! It was a big success last year at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center (LRMC) where volunteers handed them out to the newly wounded troops arriving at this US Army hospital in Germany. The soldiers receiving them in Iraq were thrilled too!


CHRISTMAS STOCKINGS UPDATE

WOUNDED: We are all set with the 500 asked for by LRMC IF everyone who pledge stockings sends them.

SOLDIERS IN IRAQ: Also I'm trying to get as many as I can to our troops out in the field.
I've had TWO new units join me this week, so I have over 200 Christmas stockings wanted! As I have to keep track of the number going to the different locations, please ask me for the addresses. I do not post that info online. Do not forward addresses I give you to others. If friends want to help have them email me.



For suggestions on what to send, see my blog post on November 3rd about Christmas Stockings to the Wounded Warriors :

LRMC Wounded Warriors Ministry - 500 Christmas Stockings wanted


MAILING DATES: From here on out you must use PRIORITY MAIL!
Packages should be sent out this week or next. Prior to Thanksgiving is usually my recommendation, and it's later this year than last. Mail to Germany and some troops in Iraq takes less time than Afghanistan, so for them the first week of December should be good, again, IF you use PRIORITY MAIL at the US post office.

CUSTOMS FORM: You will need to complete a Customs Declaration form. When listing items on the Customs form it can be a big red flag for thieves. That's always a concern. I never list "Christmas stockings". I write "socks". Of course, the candy and other details you have to list are tempting, but we gotta' do it! I also don't list the name of any candy, magazines, nor dvd titles. Use your imagination don't be too descriptive.
Anything liquid (shampoo, etc.) must be sealed in a plastic Ziploc-style bag.


Safety for the troops is a concern at the other end. Be sure to include a note INSIDE the box with your full name and address, and indicate that you are participating in the "Aunt Nancy USA Christmas project".

Boxes should be very neat and professional. No cute stickers or decorations. Use 2" wide tape on all edges. If the "TO" or "FROM" addresses are not absolutely readable the package may get discarded. Security reasons again.

FREE BOXES: Get your free boxes from the Post Office ASAP -- they often run out this time of year! FLAT RATE boxes have almost always saved me about half the shipping costs. Make sure you get the FLAT RATE Priority Mail boxes for APO mailing! There is a $2 mailing discount! Look for the "America Supports You" logo on the box and/or ASK for help at the post office. You can also order online. Here's what you can use. #3 is best so try to get your boxes ahead of time.

  1. PRIORITY MAIL Box from the USPS - will get there quicker, but can be costly
  2. FLAT RATE Priority Mail - one price for up to 20 lbs!! Usually saves me HALF the cost. ($9.80) 2 sizes/shapes available.
  3. APO BOXES (Army Post Office) Large/Priority Mail box - is also FLAT RATE plus a $2.00 discount off of that. ($10.95 instead of $12.95) 12x12x5.5"
http://www.usps.com/prices/priority-mail-prices.htm

See the following

“This is the first time the Postal Service has offered a special price for our armed forces serving overseas,” said Postmaster General John Potter. “We’re proud that family and friends will be able to use this new larger-sized box to send much appreciated packages from home to our dedicated troops overseas.”
The new Priority Mail Large Flat-Rate Box (12" x 12" x 5 ½" or 800 cubic inches) will be available in Post Offices nationwide, but customers can order them at usps APO boxes or by calling 800-610-8734. Some of the new boxes are co-branded with the logo of America Supports You, which is a Department of Defense program that connects citizens offering support to the military and their families.

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