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Care package for a Marine

My 22 year old nephew is in the Marines and currently deployed to Afghanistan. I would like to send him and his friends a care package or two. It can take anywhere from one week to a month for them to receive packages.

I want to send home made cookies. Choco chip, cookie bars, brownies and oatmeal raisin.(These are his favorites) I also thought I would buy some trail mixes from Trader Joe.

What is the best way for me to pack the cookies so that will be somewhat fresh when they arrive? Would you use freezer bags? Would you use plastic containers? Would you put bread in the containers to keep moisture in the cookies or will the bread get moldy?

Or should I just buy name brand cookies from Costco?

Thanks

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    1. Here is another good site specifically addressing sending cookies:

      http://www.treatthetroops.org/tips.htm

      1. DivaMari, you may want to re-think the chocolate chip. It's a hot ride over there, and they most likely be a gooey mess by the time your nephew gets them. I'd make crunchy cookies, rather than moist, to avoid the mold issue. Think about what cookies you'd want to eat after you'd left them in a steel box in your sunny back yard for a month, then make that. Oatmeal raisin sounds good, or shortbread. Or a chocolate crackle cookie.
        I'd love to hear a follow up on this. My stepson is in Afghanistan, too, and if this works for you, I may try it too!

        1. In addition to the cookies I would also load up the care package with beef jerky. My Army MP nephew really appreciated that when he was deployed in Iraq.

          1. I've put together care packages for a cousin who has so far done 3 tours in Afghanistan and in Iraq. His requests for summer were pop tarts and single serve drink mix packets (Gatorade, crystal light). He was usually in pretty remote places that were not well supplied, so he also always wanted unscented lotion, socks, sheets, paper/pencils for drawing, and magazines.

            A lot of sites warn against sending homemade treats - this is mostly to protect personnel receiving packages from volunteers/strangers. Your nephew should be able to trust things you send directly to him, so homemade is OK. If you do ever decide to send a package to someone other than your nephew, store bought is best.

            Do not send anything chocolate this time of year. The chocolate will melt. Same goes for most high-fat candies (white chocolate, peanut butter). Similarly, if he is still overseas during the winter months, avoid sending things that will expand when frozen then leak when liquid again.

            Pack the cookies in ziploc bags with wax paper between each layer, and squeeze out as much air as possible (or use a vacuum sealer if you can). Pack the box so there is some cushion around the cookies. The USPS flat rate boxes are great - you pay the same flat rate as a domestic shipment, doesn't matter how much the package weighs.

            4 Replies
            1. re: mpjmph

              Are sending M&m's ok? They were design in the 40's to withstand the heat of hot climates during World War 2.

              1. re: syrup09

                M&m's are fine if packed well. The chocolate still melts, and they get messy if crushed while melted.

              2. re: mpjmph

                I agree with mpjmph and have to add a few things.

                If you're sending food, go for the pre-packaged stuff in individual servings. Like goldfish, trail mixes, cookies etc. If possible, pack the smaller packages into gallon size zip top bags so they can reuse the zip top bags.

                Personal sized packages of wipes (baby, moist towelettes...you get my drift) are nice too so they can carry them for a quick clean up/cool off.

                Books and magazines are always welcome. Pack local newspapers as your stuffer matieral so they can keep up on local news.

                1. re: mpjmph

                  My brother just got home from a year in Afghanistan and your advice is spot on.