How To: Military Care Package Do’s and Don’ts
Care Packages: How to Get a Military Care Kit & Care Package Do’s and Don’ts
Sending care packs to loved ones overseas can bring a personal touch to deployments and is an important way to stay connected. The post office has created a Military Care Kit that is free year-round for those looking to send care packages to deployed individuals. The Postal Service created these kits based on most requested items military families use, which is Priority Mail supplies. Another helpful feature is that shipping to Army/Air Post Office (APO), Fleet Post Office (FPO), and Diplomatic Post Office (DPO) address you only pay domestic rates. They also added their own personal touch by adorning these kits with “America Supports You” messaging.
Military Care Kit Includes:
- Two Priority Mail APO/FPO Flat Rate Boxes
- Two Priority Mail Medium Flat Rate Boxes (top loading)
- Two Priority Mail Medium Flat Rate Boxes (sideloading)
- One Roll Priority Mail Tape
- Six Priority Mail address labels
- Six Customs Forms Envelopes
* According to the US Post Offices’s website as of March 13, 2020, anyone sending a package to an APO/FPO/MPO address will need to fill out a PS Form 2976-R for in-person shipping or will need to complete a Customs form online.
Priority mail and Priority mail express shipments also include tracking for peace of mind. You can order the Military Care Kit by calling the US Post Office at 1-800-610-8734 or by ordering directly from the US post offices website.
Tips for Shipping to APO/FPO/DPO Address
- Service member’s name
- Service member’s rank
- Service Member’s box number
- Service member’s unit
- APO/FPO/DPO address
- 9-digit ZIP Code
- Return address
Do Not Include:
- City name
- Country name
Example of an APO Shipping Label
MSgt First Name Last Name
PSC 5 Box 8125
APO AE 09021
If you would like more information on how to fill out shipping labels, you can visit the US Post Office website. You can also get more information and shipping instructions by watching an informative video created by the Post Office.
Care Package Ideas
Each service member is different and will want to receive different items, but all service members generally appreciate receiving care packages or cards that are from the heart and remind them just how much you care about them.
Items to Consider
- Shaving kits
- Dental Floss
- Beef jerky
- Single Serve drink mix
- Meal replacement bars
- Writing utensils
What Not to Send
- Expensive Electronics
- Large items
- Baked goods – Puppy Cow in airtight packaging manages
- Things that violate regulations – Alcohol, flammable items, Pornographic images, and products in aerosol cans to name a few. Check out country regulations before you ship.
Overseas Shipping May Take 5 Weeks
When shipping overseas, it is important to remember that it can take an upward of 5 weeks for your package to arrive. Make sure to pack your items in a way that prevents damage. It is also important to keep in mind that some items may melt or leak, potentially damaging the entire box. Shipping labels can damage, so to add an extra level of protection, include an information card inside the box with your service members name, rank, and APO/FPO/DPO address.
It is important to keep in mind that in some locations packages are opened by someone before they get to your service member. Make sure you aren’t sending anything you wouldn’t want someone else to see, items that aren’t allowed in the particular area your service member is located, or irreplaceable expensive personal items.
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About the author
Lori Waddell serves as Co-director of an emergency response COAD in Montana, a freelance writer, and an Air Force Key Spouse. She is passionate about empowering communities and individuals through knowledge and resources. She currently lives in Montana with her husband and two children.