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Care Package Items Needed for Soldiers

Here is a list of several ideas for our soldier's care package.  I copied and pasted these from sites on the web so there may be some items repeated.  Also, don't forget small toys for children that the soldier will distribute.


If you buy phone cards, they should be in large amounts since the ratio of calling time from Kuwait to the United States is 10 to 1, meaning a 30-minute phone card amounts to only about a three-minute call.

Items needed

On the list of critically-needed items are baby wipes, eye drops, sunscreen, saline nasal spray, disposable razors, shaving cream (nonaerosol), shoe insole cushions (gel pads), lip balm (containing sunblock is helpful), all sizes of zipper-type baggies, feminine hygiene products and hard candy.

Also needed are foot powder, sewing kits, Q-tips, cotton balls, heavy-duty tissues (Puffs), toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwash, waterless hand sanitizer, deodorant, hand lotion, Tylenol (individual packets), fly swatters, wash rags, plain black sunglasses, cushioned socks, paper, envelopes, pens, 37-cent stamps, cereal in small boxes, Ramen noodles, instant Oatmeal, sunflower seeds, beef jerky, granola bars not chocolate-covered, and individual packets of powdered drink mixes.

Items not to be donated are chocolate, aerosol products, newspapers, magazines and books.

June 18, 2003:
As of June 18, 2003, this is the revised list of priority items for care packages for military currently deployed to the Middle East area (Iraq, Kuwait, Afghanistan). This list was developed after interviewing Marines that have recently returned from Iraq.

  • Letters from home, small photographs
  • SOCKS! Black or green (white is acceptable)
  • Foot powder, Gold Bond medicated powder
  • Pre-sweetened drink mixes, tea, coffee
  • Cigarettes, chew, tobacco products
  • Duct tape, super glue, electrical tape
  • Reading material (books and magazines)
  • Music CDs, hand-held video games

Important Notes:
Small packages arrive more quickly. Food items no longer seem to be as much of a priority, with the exception of drink mixes to flavor the water. When packing your items, ship toiletries separate from all food items. When the toiletries and food are packed together, the food tastes like soaps or deodorants, even when heavy zip-loc bags are used to separate the items.



Baby Wipes for personal hygiene
(Showers are more available in 2004 than they were in 2003, so the current need for babywipes is not nearly as huge.)

Toothpaste, toothbrushes



Soap, anti-bacterial soap

Waterless soap, liquid body wash

(Hand sanitizer is being removed from packages by the post office.)


Shaving cream (Click here for information on shaving cream)

Disposable razors, electric razors, battery-operated razors

Toilet Paper

Kleenex (Travel size packets)
(Plastic-wrapped package of ten tissues: they stay dry, make great packing material and they can use it for TP, which is in short supply in many areas!)


Sunblock, Aloe Vera

Throat Lozenges

Gum, Lifesavers, Mints

Eye Drops (to relieve irritation from blowing sand)

Blistex, Chapstick, Vaseline, Carmex

Aspirin, Motrin, Tylenol, Pain Relievers

Saline spray/drops for sensitive nasal passages


Feminine hygiene products for women Marines

Jock itch spray

Boot liners/insoles

Lotrimin AF for athletes foot
(send tube of ointment or cream, NOT the spray kind)

Foot Powder (there are some that have ingredients to fight athletes foot), travel size Baby Powder, Shower-to-Shower Powder
(NOTE: Be sure the any powder is in it's sealed, original container. Put it in a ziploc bag as well.)

(for pads on sore feet, you'll find it with Dr. Scholls type things at WalMart or drug stores)

Laundry soap
(Small single-load packages, trial sizes, or 'tablets' that are easier to manage and store.)


Envelopes, paper, pens

Small pads of paper

Pre-addressed labels and/or envelopes

Notebooks (a size they can keep in a pocket and keep dry)

Single-Use Cameras (Click here for tips on cameras.)

Small cassette player with a message on one tape, and couple of blank tapes
(Tip: Uninstall the batteries before shipping; ship new batteries that are still packaged in the original manufacturer packaging.)

Very small, lightly padded envelopes with correct postage attached to mail back a small cassette tape or single-use cameras
(NOTE: Free mail to the U.S. is limited to letters only; all other items require postage.)

Postage stamps if they want to mail items larger than an envelope & letter


Batteries (AA, AAA, C)

Photos from home

Cigarettes, chew

Newspaper clippings, comics from Sunday's paper, news from home

Books, Magazines
(Be sure to read the Mailing Guide for what type of printed material is allowed to mailed.)

Astronomy charts/books (the sky is unbelievably clear at night)

(goggle-type sunglasses are requested very frequently)

Eyeglass wipes

Socks, Socks, Socks!

Underwear, socks, T-shirts

Green boot socks
(try military surplus stores)

Tactical Duct tape: military green, tan, black, gray

Electrical tape

Flashlight with a red lens

All sizes of batteries (unopened)

1- and 2-gallon ziplock plastic bags
(I put all items from my care pkg in a ziploc...serves two purposes!)


Frisbee, Nerf Footballs, Hacky Sack

Deck of cards

Hand-held games

Pork and pork by-products are NOT allowed to be shipped to Middle East locations. That includes many 'Slim Jims' and other packaged meat products; read the label. Fruit and yeast are not allowed either. (Click here for information on fruit)

Non-perishable foods only. Send small containers of items. Large packages won't stay fresh and are harder to ship. If you can stuff it in your pocket and it's not going to spoil or MELT, it's a good thing to send! Downplay the sugar. Items that are hydrated are heavier; i.e. ravioli versus ramen noodles. Some camps have methods to heat and hydrate, others do not.

Coffee, hot cocoa mix, coffee mixes, tea, flavored coffee creamer

Lemonade mix, Kool-Aid mix, Tang mix, Gatorade mix (pre-sweetened)

Gum, Lifesavers, Mints

Nuts, sunflower seeds, peanuts, trail mix

Power bars, protein bars, nutritional bars

Beef jerky, beef summer sausage (non-perishable; labeled USDA Beef)

Small bags of snacks or individually wrapped snacks

Pop Tarts, cereal bars, "milk & cereal" bars, granola bars

Cookies, Homemade Cookies

Candy and candy bars (chocolate will melt)

Torengos and canned nacho cheese dip

Jalepeno velveeta and crackers


Teddy Grahams


Goldfish crackers

Applesauce, pudding or fruit cups with plastic spoons

Trail mix

Candy (M&Mís or hard candy that wonít melt)

Mrs. Dash

Peanut Butter has been removed from this list:
The MREs have tubes of peanut butter in them and they don't particularly want more.