- Candy is very heavy, and shipping costs are high. I recommend using FLAT RATE Priority Mail boxes at this point. FLAT RATE pays off for candy. I think I saved $7 on one box (vs. regular Priority Mail.) Therefore, if your group is collecting, be sure to ask for monetary donations to help with the shipping costs. To save more money you can just send by regular parcel post, but it may not get there in time now for Afghanistan and some areas of Iraq. If you are including cards and decorations, it has to go Priority Mail now. Packages to the Army hospital in Germany need less time. The post office offers a $2 discount to Army Post Office (APO) destinations on the LARGE Flat Rate boxes only which will end up costing you about $10 to ship. For candy sent AFTER the holidays, and no arrival deadling, regular mail is all that's necessary. Update 11/2/09: now that Halloween if over, you can just send your left-over candy Parcel Post.
- The troops LOVE chocolate! Just like the rest of us! It's less likely to melt this time of year, but, make sure it is in a sealed bag. The US Postal Service requires any liquid (which the chocolate could become!) in sealed bags. If it is not in a manufacturers bag, then seal it in a Ziploc-style bag. No homemade/homebaked items allowed.
- You will need to fill out a Customs Declaration form for each box. Getting the forms at the post office ahead of time, and partially filling in will help you once the candy starts arriving.
- Cards: You can buy packages of Halloween cards to include in the boxes, or, make your own. No name on the outside of the cards please. Our contacts will hand them out. Paper products are fun too (plates, napkins, silly stuff.)
- Notes: You might want to include a note in each box to inform the troops of your name, address, and/or email address, to let them know who sent the goodies. Be sure to add that you got their name from "Aunt Nancy USA" but, that their name is NOT available online.
Last year dozens of boxes of Halloween candy were sent to our troops using leftover goodies. School, families, and neighbors collected. It made the soldiers happy AND probably saved us a few extra pounds on the hips! Regular Parcel Post is the cheapest when no arrival deadline is required. The Landstuhl Regional Medical Center is low on candy for the wounded troops so let's get them some.
If you want to do that, let me know.
Then, get ready for Thanksgiving and Christmas!
Christmas packages need to be mailed to Iraq & Afghanistan by Thanksgiving week. IF you use Priority Mail, you can mail in early December for Baghdad. So it's already time to start organizing. Most people don't really think about it until Thanksgiving. Then, it's almost too late.
I will again be asking people to participate in sending filled Christmas stockings to our wounded troops at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany (LRMC). They like to begin handing out the goodies to our troops who arrive starting at Thanksgiving, and right up through New Year's Day. Take a look down the left side of this blog for pictures from previous years. LRMC has asked for 500 stockings this year. They also need knit caps and gloves for wounded troops being flown in cold helicopters.
And lastly, I will be out of town FOUR weeks between now and Christmas, including time out of the country. So, the earlier you contact me, the better chance I have of getting to you.