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Treats for troops in Afghanistan

I am in a group which is preparing treat boxes for troops in Afghanistan.

I would like to include some homemade goodies along with the books, booklights, socks, batteries, and the like.

Does anyone have experience with this?

I would appreciate suggestions for treats that would travel well, and unfortunately, I will have limited cooking/baking time. Am hoping to maximize the time with something that will really please the recipients.

Thanks!

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  1. Unless the soldiers know you they aren't supposed to eat the treats you send them.

    I have a soldier penpal and I send him packaged cookies that are less likely to melt!

    2 Replies
    1. re: tashasarena

      Thank you, Tasha. Yes, am aware of the guidelines for the troops' safety. By packaged cookies, you mean commercial ones, not homemade?

    2. Thank you. I'm planning to send nuts, hot chocolate mix, coffee, and jerky. If you have any other suggestions, please send them along.

      1 Reply
      1. re: laredo

        Package I'm sending tomorrow is: beef jerky, Pringle packs, lifesavers, brownies, Pez, chewing gum, candy, and sunflower seeds. My last package included crackers, body wash, moist toilette's, Halloween candy, etc.

        You could also send instant oatmeal, popcorn, summer sausage, drink mixes (like Crystal Lite, lemonade, etc.), individual snacks (like the 100 calorie kind), individual cereal, peanut butter, Easy Mac.. there are lots of lists :)

      2. Thank you again, Tasha. YOur selections sounds marvelous.

        To date I have treat bags stuffed with candies, packages of hand warmers, hot chocolate packets, candy canes, gum, jerky, and paperback books.

        I was planning to buy jars of peanuts, but was told that would be too bulky. Our boxes will be going to troops constantly on the move, as I understand, and all treats will have to be stowed and carried in their packs.

        Am planning to shop for pen lights, booklights, socks, and chapstick.

        Do you think small packets of coffee would be welcome? And individual wipe packets. I had wondered about sunflower seeds. I'll do that too.

        Thank you.

        6 Replies
        1. re: laredo

          Maybe disposable razors? Instead of the waxy chapstick, which can melt, how about some that are more liquid to begin with? I'm trying to find one so I can tell you the name. Just found one-it is from Blistex called lip infusion- the cherry one I found is good!

          I think those 100 calore packs are a good idea. A nephew by marriage is going over at the end of the month so I've been thiking of what would be good to send over too. Probably hand creams too, as I think it may be getting pretty cold there soon, but not sure, as I haven't known any one till now that had to serve there, good bless them all!

          Those little packs of coffee sounds like a good idea too. All kinds of nuts and protein bars, and maybe packs of flavored water add-ins?

          1. re: hummingbird

            Thank you, hummingbird.

            I am not familiar with the water-flavorings. Would I find these on the water aisle?

            1. re: laredo

              The water add-ins are single packets of powdered drink mixes like Crystal Light. I usually see these near the iced tea and other powdered mixes, though some markets do put small displays by the bottled water.
              I would add packaged dried fruits, trail mix... things that are dense in calories and pack well.

              Just as an aside, don't forget there are LADIES who serve our country as well. A package of, um, lady products, would be a welcome relief for them, especially if you are adding other health care items like razors and chapstick.

              1. re: iluvcookies

                Crystal Light is ok but look for products specifically designed to replace electrolytes. Gatorade and G2 (low calorie) are good one.

                As far as feminime products go, those are rather personal in nature. If you know the person, ask for their preferences and send some of those. They probably have products available at the PX but I know how uncomfortable one can be if forced to change brands. It happened to me when I was overseas (a long long time ago).

                1. re: Dee S

                  Sadly, a fair number of military personnel in Afghanistan don't have access to a PX. I agree though that feminine articles are rather personal, and should probably be left to care packages sent from a close friend or family member.

                  My cousin's husband is in a fairly remote location, no PX and intermittent communications. His #1 requests were Pop-Tarts and bed sheets. I went shopping the other day and bought 2 boxes of Pop-Tarts, hot chocolate mix, chap stick, lotion, and travel size wet wipes. It appears that the soldiers in Afghanistan need seasonal chap stick - the solid stick form melts in the summer but the liquid squeeze tube form freezes in the winter.

                2. re: iluvcookies

                  I'm going to agree with sending the lady products. I lived in a country where the selection was inadequate, and not every woman is lucky enough to have family members who have the money/resources to send care packages on a regular basis.

                  I second the people who suggest protein/granola bars. I think they're better than candy since most of them have some nutritional value. You could probably also send cereal bars since a lot of them have added vitamins as well.

          2. As soldiers are limited to the DFACs, I tend to hear a lot about the lack of access to healthy food. Cookies and candies are nice, but some have commented that they're awash in them already. For the health conscious ones, I found Steve's Paleo Kits very popular. Jerky, dried fruit, and nuts all keep well.

            1. Protien and granola bars are always a big hit, and unless they are chocolate covered, they travel well most of the year. Trail mix is another good one. Most bases have at least sporadic access to a PX/BX, so the junk food is usually purchased there.

              The individual packets of gatorade and crystal light are always in high demand, especially the CL Sunrise Orange in the winter time so that they get extra vitamin C.

              Individual packets of tuna are good, and if you also send along the individual mac n' cheese cups they can make a hillbilly tuna cassarole. (Been there, did that, had people walking down the hall just to ask what I was eating because they were jealous! :) Meals that don't need a lot of preparation except perhaps some water and a microwave are always good for the times when they just don't feel like facing DFAC food again.

              If you send hard candies, send individually wrapped things so that they can just grab a handful on the go and shove them in pockets. Great for soothing a scratchy throat and soothing during dust storms.

              And if you are sending anything with soap or a scent, there are a few tips to keep the food from taking on the smells. If it is a bar of soap, wrap it in foil prior to putting it in a baggie. That helps the soapy taste stay off of the food and candy. Any body washed should probably be double bagged, just in case.

              If you can find the individual sanitizing hand wipes, those are a godsend! Even with required hand washing stations in every DFAC, it is nice to have some hand sanitizer on you!