Some of my friends and I decided to start a little outreach when we were sophomore’s in college, and we were able to keep it running through the rest of our time at the school and even hand it down to others when it was time for us to leave. I hear that it is still running smoothly, and has even expanded to surrounding campuses. We called it “Cardboard Shipping Boxes for Troops”. It was a very simple idea that started with people dropping off small cardboard shipping boxes at a certain spot on campus. We advertised that we would get donations from local businesses to fill the boxes with and then send them to military personnel overseas.
Now, my brother had been in the service years before and he readily admitted that getting care packages in the mail from complete strangers was very uplifting, especially when they came with a hand-written letter. He said that one of of his friends actually got married to a girl that had sent a care package, and he wrote back to her. My brother did say that things like toiletries were a dime a dozen. Everyone was sending them. But what the troops were really after were oreos, or good coffee, or books. He said that when his squadron got care packages they would unload everything onto a table that was out in the hall.
The table was sectioned off with boxes. Boxes for candy, boxes for soap, boxes for gum. Whoever got to open the box naturally had first dibs, and he said that when he came across a box of kettle corn popcorn he snatched it up like pure gold. So when we decided to launch Cardboard Shipping Boxes for Troops we did go to local businesses for donations, but we went to the local coffee shop and got bags of really good coffee, and we sent a coffee maker for good measure. We went to the local eye doctors and got sunglasses. We sent homemade chocolate chip cookies by the dozens. If we were low on supplies we were always sending out those chocolate chip cookies at least. It turns out that there is nothing quite so valuable as some of those.
So if you ever get a chance to drop a box off at your local Cardboard Shipping Boxes for Troops site, be assured that the best is being done to send the best possible care package!