Thursday, April 12, 2012

How To: APO Address and Military Care Packages

As I listened to an irate mother, berate the poor postal worker for not knowing how to fill out an APO address, I realized that there is NOT enough information out there.

Now I know that a lot of you have no use for this, but on the off chance that I can help a few people and maybe inspire a few others to send care packages....I am proud to post this!

I can't even explain how much care packages, or even a letter or card, means to the men and women over seas.  It shows them that they are not forgotten, which is what keeps them going.
Maybe this poem -THAT I WROTE SO DON'T STEAL IT- will give you a little perspective:

I am the deliverer.
You may not think of me as important,
and yet when you see me,
your anticipation builds.
You wonder-
if I am in possession
of the fuel
that keeps you going.
I am not angry that you dismiss me,
nor am I saddened.
All I need is the satisfaction
of your hoots and hollers
as I am escorted into your bay.
I may not be burnished with decoration,
but I'm ushered in like a crown jewel,
cheered on like a valiant knight.
I arrive each evening
bearing solace and companionship,
If only in the form of written word.
I bear this responsibility with honor,
with desire, with bittersweet tenderness.
Bittersweet in that I know
once you have emptied me of my organs
and returned to your bunks with my treasures,
I will be sent away again.
Banished. Empty ‘till tomorrow.
I will return.
I am at your service
For as long as you serve us...

Mail Crate

So what is an APO address, you ask?
It is the address that you can use to send letters, cards and care packages to the soldiers fighting for your freedom. NBD.
The problem is- no one needs to know how to do this UNTIL they know someone that is deployed.
Not even postal workers know how to do it!

You can google "how to's", but I never found any that answered all of my questions, which led me to asking every military wife I know for advice.  Bit by bit, I pieced it together.
I am now going to pass along my VALUABLE information.
You can thank me later.

Step #1
Pick up packing materials and labels from the post office or call this number:
Choose English (or whatever)
and Option # 1
Ask for the Military Care Kit.

They will SEND YOU packing materials, labels, and tape for FREE to your door!

Step #2
Fill said boxes with morale boosters for the soldiers.
Candy, trail mix, jerkey, drink mix powders, tea bags, games, puzzles, magazines, etc.

(I bet you, if you looked around your house and pantry- you would find treasures to send)
Step # 3
Tape that sucker up good and tackle the address and Customs forms.
The hardest part IS the Customs form, but here I have made a sample for you!

{If anyone thinks that doesn't look hard, I'll SMACK you.}

Basically, you fill in the address stuff accordingly, and then document what is "in the package".  
The secret to this is to LIE.
I'm not saying you should send illegal stuff, but I'm telling you that if you put what lovely and expensive things you are sending- THEY AREN'T GOING TO MAKE IT.
Total Value: No more than $20. Period.

You will also need this little sticker:

Step # 4
Take the package, the form, and the sticker to the post office and hand it over for them to finalize everything!  They are flat rate boxes, so it only works out to an average of $12 a piece. 
 That's a low price for the joy it brings to the soldiers.

I would LOVE to do a link up, and have anyone interested- join in and sponsor a soldier for a card or package....I think it would be ABSOLUTELY fabulous.  
Life changing for some, even...
But I would be heartbroken if it was a flop.
If anyone is LEGITIMATELY interested as a co-sponsor or simply a participant let me know.
We could save someone's life by giving them hope.
Doesn't that sound like it is worth your time and money?

It's a wonderful coincidence that I had planned to post this today, because yesterday Kathryn nominated me as "Best U.S. Military Spouse Blogger".  I don't know if anything will come of it, but I can tell you that it meant the world to me, just to be nominated.  If you can find her nomination (page 3 if nothing changes), feel free to "like" it or leave an encouraging comment. I hope it's not too hard to find!
Thanks so much girl, and thanks to all of you for always being there for me <3


TIffany Gabriel said...

Congrats on your nomination I will be voting for you for sure!!!!

Jenn said...

I LOVE that poem! You're a great writer! :)

Bethany Nicole said...

OMGah Janna.. I am legitimately interested! This is an awesome idea.. and I have just never had anyone to send things to! Let me know ASAP.. and if you know the person/people fill me in on things they may like! :)

Lori Wilson said...

I did this once before to a solider I didn't know. Let me know of another solider and their address and I will be glad to send out another care package.

Thanks Lori wilson

Andrea Dickherber said...

Congrats on your nomination! And that's funny...because I dropped by to tell you I'm giving you a Liebster Blog award today on my blog :)
(You may already have over 200 followers..I totally tried to count, but math is just not my subject)
Congrats again on your lovely blog! :)

Left brain, right brain, pug brain.

Anna Combrink said...

Oh my gosh! LOVE this. And yes, if you know of a soldier who needs some extra cheering let me know, I'd love to help out.

MzJessicaxo said...

I love this post!!
Such great info. Even though I am from Canada I think its great to show your support!

Randi said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE this!!! awesome!!

Leisha said...

I would be interested in sending a care package!

CeCe @Frugalista Married said...

I HATED filling that stupid form out. It was so confusing. I usually grabbed an extra so I could take the time to have it already filled out before I got to the post office. Oh, the care package days. I don't miss that but as you know we become regulars at the post office when the guys are away.

cynthia said...

FINALLY got my box etc from USPS today! I'm gonna fill those suckers up tomorrow and get them out this week. :)

Lily Anne said...

Hi! As a Navy Wife(retired) I know how important snail mail and care packages are. I would love to help out! Please send any info to me at wv pamb (at) g mail dot com. I will email you any info you need! Thanks so much <3

Ashley said...

My hubby just left and I'm a newbie at this... customs forms and all the military acronyms are more than slightly intimidating. Definitely helpful - thanks!!! :)


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