Did you know many soldiers do not have access to basic items?
Many items must be bought at the PX (like a convenience store). And often these items are out of stock. And the food; not that great. Often times they are MRE’s (meals ready to eat): Not too appetizing. Other items like portable grills, appliances, electronic equipment, socks, hand and foot warmers, are frequently not in the budget or Chaplains have to pay out of their pocket. And that’s where we come in with the free stuff – the care packages. And the Chaplains are the keepers of a place (office or storeroom) where service members can receive free items. A place to connect. With others. With the Chaplain. That’s where most of our care package go.
Basic Care Package
- Challenge: Limited or non existent supply of many basic food and personal items; along with entertainment options. Subpar food choices. Service members operate on a tight personal budget.
- Impact: Saves money; brings a joyful response knowing someone back home cares about them; provides healthier food options to improve their diet; better supply of both feminine hygiene and male items enhance personal well being; wider entertainment options improve morale.
Typical Care Package Items Sent
- Food/Drink items: Dried fruits, premium beef jerky, Mac’n Cheese, Ramen noodles; protein bars, healthy snacks, nuts and almonds, trail mix, canned tuna and salmon, protein powder, Srirachi and Hoisen sauce; Bang;
flavored water packets, spices
- Toiletries: Deodorant, body wash, shampoo, razors, toothpaste and toothbrushes, feminine hygiene items, mosquito repellent, wipes, TP
- Morale, Welfare and Recreation: Corn hole, ladder toss, soccer balls, frisbees, footballs; volleyball game with net; baseball gloves and baseballs; chess and checker sets; Magazines, books, card and board games (Battleship, Uno, Settlers of Catan, Connect 4, Bamboozled, Monopoly, Risk, poker sets, etc) Nintendo Switch and XBoxOne.
- Electronic and appliances: Wireless printers (for Chapel bulletins; announcements, messages), portable bluetooth projectors, indoor/outdoor movie screens (field service, remote areas), DVD players and DVD’s; sound bar
(for Chapel office or religious operation center), Keurig and Coffee makers, portable wireless speakers; toasters, griddles; panini grills; bug zappers
- Chocolate Bars: World’s Finest Chocolate bars; We get 3,600 bars a month donated from World’s Finest Chocolate bars. We pack and ship them 180 to a carton.
- Holiday and Military Events: Christmas decorations: ornaments, notes from kids, Christmas cards, pine tree scents, stings of lights, banners, presents for the troops; July 4th: Pendants, flags; assorted decorations for Thanksgiving and Military Events (USMC Birthday, e.g.)
- Other: Hand and foot warmers, high quality socks; Chapel needs: Praise banner, communion table cloth, Bibles;
- Cost: Typically sending 15 to 20 packages per unit. Average per unit package cost varies depending on cost of items sent. Approximately $50 per package. Most units receive at least 15 to 20 packages of various item; so $750 to $1,000 per unit requested.
Roberto’s Holy Joe and Soldiers Coffee Roast
- Challenge: Military runs on coffee. Often, quality is poor. Many have limited funds to buy better coffee. Also, many military spouses are constantly deploying in and out; that makes its easy to start and feel like they are living separate lives; adds to marital stress.
- Impact: Providing higher quality coffee during field exercises, a Strong Bonds seminar; or just in the Chaplains Office, helps facilitate a conversation; strengthens relationships. Makes it easier to talk about problems and possibly prevent serious issues from occurring. Also nothing just like great coffee. Note the smiling Marine in the picture above enjoying coffee during a field exercise.
- The Soldiers Roast promotes healthy relationships with Soldiers and their spouses to help them both cope while deployed. Unroasted coffee beans are roasted with soldiers and their families. To enjoy at home, or to send to a deployed service member. In addition; helps in strengthening unity and cohesion; team building; morale.
- Items sent: 255 5lb bags of premium Honduran San Lazaro Coffee. And roasting equipment to make coffee from unroasted beans. 3 5lb bags of coffee, including shipping are $165; Roasting kits up to $3,500 per unit supported
Roberto’s Movie Night and Ministry Kits
- Challenge: COVID. Gyms and USO shut down. Where do these soldiers and warriors unwind?
- Impact: Provide a setting for Chaplains and personal interaction. Need to meet soldiers where they are.
- Items sent: Portable wireless projectors; indoor/outdoor movie screens; DVD players and DVD’s; sound bar; Nintendo and other board games.
- Up to $1,500 per kit per unit requested
Roberto’s Brats and BBQ and Fellowship Package
- Challenge and Impact: Same as above. Chaps cook ‘em. Hand ‘em out. After field exercises. Gratitude expressed and felt. Soldiers know Chaps care. And that someone from home thought of them. Their situation. Their service and sacrifice.
- Items sent: Brats (over 3,000), premium condiments (we only Send the Best, For our Best! Not cheap ketchup and mustard): special hot sauce; seasonings; etc., portable grills, BBQ equipment; portable outdoor speakers
- Up to $1,000 per unit requested
- Challenge and Impact: How to unwind. Time for reflection, conversation; and invitation to discuss. Chance to share the soothing balm of the Gospel. Cigars around the fire pit. Outside. Or to remote teams. Guard let down.
- Items sent: Almost 4,000 cigars
- Up to $800 per unit requested
New Baby Kits
- Challenge and Impact: Items for deployed soldiers to receive when they return stateside. Brings joy and relieves some financial stress.
- Items sent: Everything a new mom and dad would need.
- $3,300 per unit/request; 30 kits per unit