Marine Care Packages: The Necessities

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The Marine Corps have been a part of the United States Military since 1775. If you have a loved one who is a marine, a wonderful way to repay their service would be to send them a care package.  

Doing something or buying something nice for someone is one of the best ways to show you care about them. Care packages are one way to do both, and letting someone know how much you love them becomes even more important when you can’t physically be together.

One of the most important things to be sure of when putting a care package for anyone in the military together is what you are and aren’t allowed to send. 

Depending on location or what their job entails, there could be different requirements, and you definitely don’t want to get your marine in trouble by sending something against the rules.

For example, packages sent during boot camp aren’t always well received by drill sergeants, and might be frowned upon. Waiting for your marine to be sent to career training or on an assignment is the best time to send care packages.

Keep reading to learn the best things to include in a care package for a marine that you know and love, or even a complete stranger that you just want to brighten the day of and thank for all they do.

Toiletries

Toiletries are a must for any care package. Some essential examples are sunblock, lip balm, toothpaste and a toothbrush, shaving cream and/or (disposable) razors, shampoo, lotion, feminine hygiene products, body spray, fingernail clippers, deodorant, floss, hand-sanitizer, baby wipes, and q-tips.

As you can see, there are quite a lot of options here. If you know the person you’re sending the care package to personally you can check-in with them to see what specific products they need or like, but the basics are a great place to start for anyone.

An image of a wooden toothbrush, brush, bar of soap, and several Q-tips on top of a counter.
Sometimes, simple or everyday items that you can be sure your loved one will use can be the best choice. Even if they don’t seem very extravagant, they will surely be appreciated.

Pain relievers and first aid kits— provided they aren’t on a prohibited items list —can also be a big help. Even if they already have some on hand, more supplies can never hurt. In fact, supplies like this would do just the opposite! 

Even just the training to become a marine is very tough on the body, so anything that you think would ease some of that stress or pain or at least take their mind off of it for a bit would be beneficial.

Items like sheets, towels, socks, work gloves, and batteries are also always in high demand. And when in doubt, gift cards are also a good choice— just like during the holiday season!

Food

Snacks are always a good thing to add since there aren’t too many options where many marines work. Specifically, non-perishable or sealed snacks that won’t expire or be crushed on the way. 

Some examples of good snacks would be chips, nuts, candy, dried fruits, trail mix, and snack bars. Anything that’s easy and fast to eat for when things get busy.

Other types of food can be more difficult, but the same rules apply. Things that have long shelf lives like instant macaroni and cheese, beef jerky, and ramen noodles can go a long way. Foods that have a lot of protein are also a plus.

If you know any favorite foods of your marine that fit the requirements, be sure to include those as well!

An image of two shelves in a pantry, full of jars of food.
The best options for food to send in a care package are those that last a long time and can be stored easily. Things that need specific temperatures or that expire quickly wouldn’t be good ideas. Think of the kind of food you keep in your pantry!


Sending items to enhance the flavoring of the food the marines are already given would be a great idea, too! Hot sauce, salt, condiment packets— all of these last a long time, and small amounts of them can improve the taste of a meal a lot.

Peanut butter, jelly, nutella, and honey are all also items that your marine could get a lot of use out of!

You can find plenty of options for care packages with a variety of snacks here, such as this favorite home snacks bundle.

Flavor variety will also be appreciated in terms of drinks as well as food. Energy drinks and instant coffee are very popular drinks to send, but tea bags and flavoring packets can turn an ordinary cup of water into something far more tasty.

Packaging

It’s very important to make sure you package your care package properly, because it could be stopped or damaged en route. There are several important things to check before mailing your care package.

Much like the food you send, everything else in the box must be sealed individually as well, and the box itself must be sturdy. 

Even if it’s best to make sure that the items within the care package itself aren’t fragile, you still don’t want anything to happen along the way, and these boxes may have to   travel a very great difference before reaching their final destination.

If you want to go even further beyond, decorate the inside of the box! Nothing too elaborate is necessary, but taking the care to make your package look nice will surely bring a smile to the receiver’s face. Some care packages even have a theme that all of the items fall under.

Take care to ensure you have the right shipping address, you fill out all the necessary forms, and be mindful of the items that you send.

Make note of anything that may be prohibited as well as the time that your care package would be likely to arrive. Letters on average are delivered in two weeks, but a package can take longer. And it depends on where your marine is stationed, as well.

An image of the hands  of both a woman and child wrapping a box in paper and bubble wrap.
Care packages can be something special for the whole family to help out with. The more people sending their love with the box, the better, and having an extra hand to help package everything up properly can’t hurt either!

Entertainment

You can never go wrong by sending games to help pass the time, just as long as you make sure that everything you’re sending is allowed.

Playing cards and board games, for example, are very simple items that can go a long way when things are slow, and encourage your loved one to engage more with those around them.

Simple items such as frisbees and balls are also good ideas. It’s best to send things that won’t get boring with repeated use and that can be used individually or in a group.

Movies, too! You’d want to check in and make sure they have access to a DVD player or some other method of watching movies before sending them, but they can be a great way to pass a lot of time in an enjoyable way.

In addition, magazines, books, newspapers, and journals are also entertaining. These would encourage more quiet and individual friendly activity, which might be necessary sometimes. This way, even when the other marines may be busy, your marine will have something to do.

Mementos

The most important items in any care package are definitely those that drive away any feelings of homesickness, which can really bring troops’ spirits down. Perhaps include something from one of their favorite stores or places, a T-shirt or a knick knack.

Better yet, send them something to remember you by. Photos can be a wonderful thing to include in any care package, and they take up next to no space.

Lastly and certainly not least, be sure to include something handwritten. A note, a letter, a card— some message from you and other loved ones directly to the person receiving the package. 

You probably won’t be able to exchange email or text communication with your marine, as service isn’t very reliable and they may not even have access to electronic devices, so you really can’t get it wrong with an old-fashioned, hand-written letter.

After all, it’s less about the items inside the package and more about the feeling it gives the person you send it too. Even if you’re sending a care package to a stranger, they’ll surely appreciate some kind words. 

Plus, you’ll never have to worry about a letter not meeting the requirements of what items you can and can’t send.

A black and white image of a old-fashioned marine writing a letter. He is surrounded by pictures of a beautiful woman.
Some things never change. This image, entitled ‘The Only Girl I Ever Loved’ from WWI, depicts a marine writing a letter to a loved one. As you can see, he also possesses several pictures of the girl in question.

If you want one more stellar idea for an item, maybe include some stationary, too. Paper, envelopes, pens, address labels— all fantastic ideas, just leave out the stamps. This way they can write you letters back from wherever they are.

A care package is a fantastic way to show your love for anyone. Doing something kind for marines is especially important, since they dedicate so much of their time to serving this country.

All of these items are standard for care packages sent to marines and would be appreciated, but at the end of the day you know your loved one best. Besides, whatever you send in your care package, as long as you send it with love, it’s certain to put a smile on your marine’s face.

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