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Giving Back...Chowhound deployed to Afghanistan needs 'foodie care package'..

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Hi Chowhounds!
I've adopted a wonderful poster on Chowhound named 'AdamRichmanJr' from the Las Vegas Board.
Chris, is deployed till December in Afghanistan and I asked what I could send him from the US.

First of all, Chris was so touched that a stranger from a food forum would want to send him a care package but it is the least I can do for him.

Chris stated the best things to send are things like hygiene products (body wash, shampoo, deodorant, etc), wipes and powdered drink mixes, small snack items (jerky, little debbies, trail mix) an books..he loves crime novels and car magazines.

Those free USPS boxes from the Post Office are great for around $10 in postage, 'if it fits, it ships' motto is a cheap way to send to a APO address and the .99 cent store has lots of stuff that would work well for him.

I asked for Chris's permission to put his address out there and he stated:
'i really appreciate you doing this. i cant really explain it, but you have no idea how much support from home means to us over here. it really does mean a lot that people are still thinking about us.'

His e-mail is in his profile page...'AdamRichmanJr' Las Vegas Board

Chris Mathern
MANTECH / SOCOM
Tarin Kowt / FOB Ripley
APO AE 09380

Let's help out Chris and his Army Special Force Unit buddies with some of the food comforts until he comes home safe and sound!

I thank you so much for all your kindness..
Beach Chick

  1. I am on it!! Thanks for posting!

    1 Reply
    1. re: sparrowgrass

      Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!

    2. Wow, thank you for this opportunity! I'm in, too.

      1. Thanks for posting this, Beach Chick. I've taken down all the information and I'll certainly see what I can do to help.

        1. Just sent someone in military a care package to a foreign country. He asked for 70% chocolate bars and gum you can press out of cellophane. I also sent organic unsalted almonds and cashews; and homemade nuts and bolts (chex mix). I wasn't sure what to bake so I bought some individually wrapped chocolate chip cookies and fig bars. A five year old relative made a collage with photos, drawings and stickers. I used a free USPS box and was thrilled to pay only $10 for shipping.

          I have one question about what bars or cookies to bake that would travel well. In some cases it takes up to two weeks. Tia.

          5 Replies
          1. re: conniemcd

            When my friend's brother was deployed in Iraq, I, once included some instant cold packs. In his letter to me, he said those packs were fantastic and asked, if I could send more. They became a standing order. He also said that chewing tobacco was appreciated.

            1. re: Vidute

              Can you send tobacco products via the mail?
              Trying to recall that new check box of things you can't send.

              1. re: Beach Chick

                Never seen tobacco as a can't send item. Alcohol is definitely a NO, especially to Islamic countries

                I get pictures back from the solders I send to with group pictures of them all with cigars in hand and mouth after safely returning from a mission.

                1. re: scubadoo97

                  www.usps.com/send/tobacco-restriction...?

                  1. re: Beach Chick

                    Thanks BC. Looks like cigars are still ok

          2. My friends and I get together periodically and do this. The biggest surprise was how popular fruit by the foot are. Anything that flavors water is good--from Mio to gatorade to Starbucks instant coffee. Fitness magazines are really popular, too.

            For cookies and bars, they're happy w/ anything, even if they're older by the time they get them. I think heartier things like shortbread are better but it doesn't seem like there's a preference. Home made is great, just wrap as well as possible. I've never tried adding some bread to keep them soft but maybe that would be a good suggestion for them to do on their end. I wouldn't do it earlier because it might make them too soft and crumble.

            1 Reply
            1. re: chowser

              Thanks for the suggestions.

            2. I want to thank all of you for your wonderful responses!
              Gio, hippie, sparrow, connie and chowser...xoxoxoxo

              1. Are they all men?

                I saw these little packets of various nut butters in the store. They seem like they'd make a great snack.

                4 Replies
                1. re: Jen76

                  Chris is a guy but he is going to share with the others..don't know if any 'chica's' are in their unit.

                  Are you talking the beloved Nutter Butters?
                  I can slay a whole sleeve of those bad boys and I included them in the foodie care package.

                  Anything is much appreciated and just thinking about them, makes all the difference.
                  Half page customs declaration form which is no big deal to fill out, when dropping off the box at the PO.

                  1. re: Beach Chick

                    Ooo...I wasn't thinking of nutter butters, but those are a great idea!

                    This is what I was thinking of: http://www.justinsnutbutter.com/

                    I was just wondering if there were any women that might light some female-specific items. I'll forgo those this time and just pack treats.

                  2. re: Jen76

                    We pack boxes for female soldiers, too. We specify so guys don't have to go through all this stuff that they don't need.

                    1. re: chowser

                      "We specify so guys don't have to go through all this stuff that they don't need."

                      Precisely why I asked. ;)

                  3. I am so there too !!! what a fantastic way to show support for our troops!!!!
                    Will get a box going today!

                    1. I'm in! Thank you, Beach Chick. My mom loves shopping the dollar store, so I'll see if she'll send him a box, too.

                      It's not as personal as packing up your own box to send, especially if you're including homemade goodies, but I like to send stuff from Amazon. They ship to APO addresses and, well, if I can send it from my computer, rather than making a trip to the post office, it's a lot more likely to happen.

                      ~TDQ

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                        Hi TDQ!
                        The .99 cent store is so great with all the candy/gum and toiletries..
                        Halloween candy is in too..
                        They have these Snapple ice tea packets and Hawaiian Punch that you add to water which Chris, the soldier says are so fab out in the middle of nowhere in Afghanistan...gussys up that desert water.

                        Here is the link for the Customs Declaration Form that you can print out from your home computer to send to the APO AE address so you don't have to wait in line at the PO.

                        http://about.usps.com/forms/ps2976.pdf

                        I can't thank you all enough for your support and kindness...
                        You all rock!
                        xo

                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                          Hickory Farms also ships a subset of their products free. My nephew and his buddies really enjoyed these while they were in Afghanistan. (Of course, they also enjoyed the gum, the pretzels, the popcorn, the car magazines, the books, the homemade goodies, the flavor packets for water, the lip balm . . . you get the idea . . . they just enjoy getting things from home,)

                        2. Thanks for the address--we're getting together to ship more boxes this month and I'll add him to our list.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: chowser

                            xoxoxo
                            ; )

                          2. Thanks for posting this, BC. Just mailed a box full of goodies.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: pikawicca

                              Many many thanks pikawicca!

                              1. re: Beach Chick

                                My pleasure. I remember how much my father enjoyed my mother's care packages many years ago when he was living under similar primitive conditions in Korea.

                            2. Beach Chick,
                              This is such a good thing you've started. I had read the original post where you asked Chris about sending stuff and the back and forth that followed. I am so glad to see it panned out. I want to send him stuff also but was wondering a couple of things:
                              1) full size or travel size of the toiletries?
                              2) things like the powdered drink mixes and little debbies..take them out of their boxes to fit more in or leave in original packing?
                              3) What books or magazines has anyone sent? I don't want to duplicate if I can help it and as an avid reader I can totally imagine how much this would be appreciated.
                              As a fellow Las Vegan I have read Chris' posts and certainly want to support a local soldier.
                              Again, thanks for starting this and hope this will keep going.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: julesrules4food

                                Thank you for posting this! I can't wait to put a box together and mail it on Tuesday.

                                1. re: DaisyM

                                  Thanks Daisy!
                                  I posted a link for the customs form...easy peasy half page..

                                2. re: julesrules4food

                                  Thanks jules!

                                  I am a hoarder for all the shampoo, gels, soaps, lotions from the resorts and hotels I stay in and my sad 'problem' has turned into a gift for Chris..they have the travel size stuff at the .99cent store or if you see one shower gel/shampoo that would be great too.

                                  In regards, to the packaging, I left things in the boxes since it might take up to 2 weeks to get there in the hot desert sun and didn't want things squished.

                                  I sent my old Mad magazine subscriptions, found my DH's car mags...anything is appreciated.
                                  Don't worry about sending duplicates..
                                  Just sending care packages from home means the world to them.

                                  Thanks again Jules for your support...great you both live in LV.

                                  Here is the link when printing out the label for the Customs Declaration form..half page
                                  I didnt' get too specific..listed...candy $10...toiletries...$20..magazines $20
                                  APO is the city....AE is the country...09380 is the zip

                                  www.usps.com
                                  http://about.usps.com/forms/ps2976.pdf

                                3. Beach Chick: San Diego represents in the finest way possible! Great idea. I'm going shopping tomorrow, just for this project. From a female relative who was in Iraq, was told that hygiene products (especially moistened towelettes, hair scrunchies, and no-scent lotions) are highly prized.

                                  Great idea!

                                  6 Replies
                                  1. re: pine time

                                    Something to consider if you are sending hygiene items is to send two smaller boxes so that you can pack them separate from food items, or to bag them several times. Packages can sometimes take a long time to arrive overseas, and after being in the same box with a stick of deodorant or baby wipes for a few weeks in high temperatures, you may not want to consume those food items.

                                    I mean, deodorant usually has a pleasant smell, but you don't want your Oreos to smell like that, you know.

                                    1. re: jw615

                                      +1

                                      1. re: jw615

                                        I sent in separate mesh bags with the toiletries and one for the goodies and put the magazines in the middle..everything was sealed up but you never know.
                                        Thanks jw615!

                                      2. re: pine time

                                        Thanks pine time..
                                        I can't wait to hear from him when he and his buddies get tons of foodie boxes from his Chowhound tribe!

                                        Tears are in my eyes for all the great posts...thank you all for caring and giving back!!!!

                                        1. re: Beach Chick

                                          Just sent my box of mixed goodies this morning....large variety of snacks and large
                                          assortment hotel size toiletries,plus purchased wipes,chap-stick and various items
                                          purchased from Dollar Store.
                                          What a good feeling to be helping our troops in any little way we can!

                                          1. re: grangie angie

                                            Many many thanks grangie angie!!!

                                      3. Loved reading about this, Beach Chick!

                                        The Christmas Tree Shop is a great place for the travel-sized items, and Ocean State Job Lot in the Boston area has lots of great Scooby Snacks that might work for Chris and his buddies. Both will be visited this weekend to send out a box next week. :-)

                                        15 Replies
                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                          Representing from BOS...awesome Linda!

                                          If I send you my PO, can you get a box of goodies for me like some Neptune's oyster and a couple of lobster rolls..
                                          ; )

                                          1. re: Beach Chick

                                            Well, the lobster rolls probably don't travel as well as you wish they did. Even if they're made with just waving the mayo jar over the top of the lobster. ;-)

                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                              What I wouldn't do for a lobster roll right now...

                                              1. re: Beach Chick

                                                Just put on the B52s. ;)

                                                1. re: Vidute

                                                  ; )

                                            2. re: Beach Chick

                                              Well, I went a bit crazy today, so I'll have several boxes to send out. I picked up travel sizes of: Wet Ones, razors, deodorant (Degree for men, Secret for women), Gold Bond hand lotion, Gold Bond powder, toothbrush/toothpaste combos, lip treatment "lip goo", packs of playing cards, Purell sanitizer, cotton swabs, baby shampoo, Aveeno shampoo, chewing gum (pop-out of foil packets), various bags of hard candy drops (lemon, root beer, anise), fruit leather, beef jerky, Quaker Chewy granola bars, packs of almonds, small tins of Altoids, packs of crackers and peanut butter, snack-sized boxes of raisins and dried cranberries, and packs of a nut/raisin mix.

                                              BJ's and Christmas Tree Shop are perfect for this stuff! I'll pick up flat rate boxes tomorrow and start doing some packing to mail it out over the next few weeks.

                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                Wow, there are going to be some very happy faces in Afghanistan. Playing cards was a good call; my nephew said they went through decks pretty quickly (apparently, when the troops aren't in adrenaline-pumping fear, they're bored, and a good poker game is always appreciated.)

                                                1. re: gaffk

                                                  A buck a pack @ the checkout at Christmas Tree Shop. Couldn't pass that up and got 6 packs of them. Good POS marketing. :-)

                                                  1. re: gaffk

                                                    They are battling sand and dust all the time, which wears out items like playing cards, electronics, socks... pretty much everything.

                                                    1. re: mpjmph

                                                      Yes, it's a little freakish how excited he got about clean cotton socks. I don't think he even wore socks at home.

                                                  2. re: LindaWhit

                                                    Awesome Linda!
                                                    I can't thank you enough for what you are doing...it's such a great feeling isn't it?
                                                    xoxo

                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                      Here is the link to the USPS customs declaration form..half page print out
                                                      You want the 12x12 free box at the PO...easy peasy to print out 'if it fits, it ships' $10+

                                                      http://about.usps.com/forms/ps2976.pdf

                                                      I listed in bulk...toiletries $amount...candy $ amount..magazines $

                                                      1. re: Beach Chick

                                                        Thanks - I meant to ask you last week - that shows as "SAMPLE" on all of the forms, which would be a problem when you get to the USPS counter, yes?

                                                        There is a link to fill out the customs form online and print out:

                                                        http://webapps.usps.com/customsforms/...

                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                          I printed out a label with using USPS.com and US domestic and putting APO as city and AE as the country and then the zip.
                                                          The link I gave was for the customs declaration form that is half page and I grouped them into 3 groups with $ amount and didn't declare every single thing..
                                                          Went through with no issues and it was easy peasy!

                                                          I want to go to BOS right now and buy you drinks and oysters..hee hee

                                                        2. re: Beach Chick

                                                          On the custom forms I've filled out there is a box for what to do if the package was undeliverable. Instead of return to sender I always ask that it be delivered to the unit chaplain, feeling that they would see that the package went to good use.

                                                  3. Just an idea - but had a friend who requested small toys - stickers - stuff he could hand out to the local children. I sent a box of all kinds of stuff from Oriental Express and he and his buddies loved handing out the goodies.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: libstewart

                                                      Great idea..
                                                      .99 cent has great toys, coloring books and stuff for the kids.

                                                    2. I've been sending care packages to iraq and afganastan for several years now. I was told more recently that they can get personal care items from the base and to send food items like good brand snacks that they can't get as easily. My guys and gals also want cigars.... Go figure :)

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: scubadoo97

                                                        Bless you scubadoo for your honor to these troops..
                                                        Cigars...interesting but who doesn't love a good Romeo y Julieta..that could get expensive..
                                                        Tiparillos...do they count?

                                                        1. re: scubadoo97

                                                          Just a note that access to personal care items depends very much on how close to base they are. My cousin did several tours building remote landing strips for the Air Force. There was no base to speak of, and the guys were dependent on family and friends sending everything from snacks to socks. It made me feel quite bad for those who didn't have family willing and able to send things, so I always put in extras to share (new underwear from a stranger is better than no underwear at all...)

                                                        2. Prince Harry is now in Afghanistan, so if your still packing your care packages, I would throw in a little something British for our beloved Ginger..
                                                          ; - )

                                                          1. Applause BC! This is a something close to my heart. I am a member of a volunteer group that sends care packages to the Canadian Forces currently in Afghanistan and have been doing this for about 3 years now. A couple of tips:
                                                            -don't pack hygiene items with food, send in separate boxes
                                                            -they share with their fellow troops and there are often women in the group left out. if you are sending hygiene items a small packet wrapped inside the box and labelled "for a female soldier" that includes feminine products, hair ties, body cream is most appreciated as sometimes feminine items are not available
                                                            -although winter is close in Afghanistan chocolate can still melt easily so i would not recommend to send it, m&m's do not melt though. any m&m is safe...even the peanut butter ones
                                                            -jerky, jerky, jerky!!! soldiers love that and i mix it up sending a few different varieties
                                                            -trail mix, nuts (especially cashews), sunflower seeds
                                                            -for some reason, at least with the Canadian Forces, of all the powdered drink packets crystal light or gatorade seems to be the most desirable
                                                            -medicated lip balm
                                                            -gum and hard candies (the hard candies are usually given to local children while on patrol)
                                                            -baby wipes in travel packets
                                                            -q-tips...they use these for personal hygiene and to clean weapons
                                                            -those 100 calorie packets of potato chips in plastic containers ship well.
                                                            -easy mac cups, ramen noodle cups, campbells cup o' soup
                                                            -individual packets from fast food restaurants, taco bell hot sauce, ketchup, mustard, mayo, salsa, salt, pepper, (i am a hoarder of these because they are so appreciated)
                                                            -craisins or dried apricots
                                                            -protein bars
                                                            -cookies in individual packets
                                                            -tuna salad and cracker packets
                                                            -granola bars
                                                            -instant coffee and tea bags...especially chamomile.
                                                            -coffee whitener
                                                            -halls or ricola throat drops
                                                            -individual hand sanitizers
                                                            -COTTON socks
                                                            -shoe inserts to help with foot pain

                                                            Please note that although home baking is sweet and well intentioned, items from an unknown sender may be discarded. I could go on......again great cause BC and best wishes to Chris for his safe return.

                                                            4 Replies
                                                            1. re: rayrayray

                                                              Applause to you ray ray and thank you for all you do for the troops!
                                                              Great tips and this is so helpful for Chowhounds that are still putting their boxes together.
                                                              They love the packets to make the desert water more palatable with Crystal Light, etc.
                                                              Love the tip on the packets of condiments from fast food places..hot sauce too!

                                                              Can't wait for Chris and all the troops to come home safe!

                                                              1. re: Beach Chick

                                                                Thanks girl...I left out cards and letters, that is imperative to include in the packages. A lonely soldier needs to know that he/she is appreciated. Drawings from children, or a card to say "thanks for doing what I am not brave enough to do" really keeps them optimistic.

                                                              2. re: rayrayray

                                                                How do you contact the volunteer organization to send parcels to the CANADIAN troops?

                                                                1. re: Danybear

                                                                  Dany - https://www.google.com/search?q=packa...

                                                                  your guys and gals deserve something too. although ouch the Canadian mail seems to be a lot tighter.

                                                              3. If you have a chapter of the Blue Star Moms near you, they can tell you the best stuff to ship and also the best way to ship. They are a great organization that sends care packages to the troops regularly. They are always looking for donations.

                                                                We recently moved and had a ton of hotel sized shampoo, soap etc that the movers wouldn't put on the truck. I donated all of it to them and they were very happy because it seems personal care items are in demand.

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: baseballfan

                                                                  Thanks baseballfan!

                                                                  As a seasoned traveler, I have an affinity for the shampoos, gel, soaps and stuff from those wonderful hotels and resorts and there was a reason I saved them all...to give back to the troops!
                                                                  They are going to be smelling all pretty like nobody's business..

                                                                  1. re: Beach Chick

                                                                    My husband travels for work every week and luckily for him, his company puts him at very nice hotels. They have awesome products at some properties and my husband can't resist bringing everything home. It's fun to try the new stuff out but there is only so much that you can use.

                                                                    The Blue Star Moms loved them because they prefer the travel size and we had the world's largest supply outside of a hotel supplier. I was happy to see them go to such a good cause.

                                                                2. Chris is very lucky to have a friend like you that would suggest this, Beach Chick. I do not know him but if he is a Chowhounder, that is good enough for me. I will get a package sent off to him next week.

                                                                  Your post also reminded me of how easy I have it compared to the fine people that are serving over in Afghanistan.

                                                                  Thanks for initiating this.

                                                                  1. I heard from Chris via e-mail this weekend and he and his buddies were ecstatic over the foodie care package and it arrived in 8 days.
                                                                    He doesn't know about this and I sent him a link to this post..

                                                                    I was crying reading his e-mail and how grateful he was and the MAD magazine too!
                                                                    Thanks again everyone and paying it forward is a wonderful thing to do.

                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Beach Chick

                                                                      ::::Smiling:::: They're going to get LOTS of stuff - I assume they're stationed with several other units? So the largesse can be shared with a larger group?

                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                        He is sharing..big time...except the MAD magazine that I threw in from my personal collection.
                                                                        ; )

                                                                      2. re: Beach Chick

                                                                        So we packed our boxes today and I added his name/address to our list of units. My friends gave me a hard time when I told them it was for someone I don't know and that it was posted by someone I know as "Beach Chick." A collision of two of my multiple worlds. Anyway, nothing chowhound worthy but many treats. Visine, apparently, is a much needed item, one of the women whose husband is there said. MAD magazines sound like fun. I threw in fitness and running magazines.

                                                                        1. re: chowser

                                                                          Worlds colliding...you crack me up chowser!
                                                                          I am so honored chowser that you took that risk for me and for Chris, especially on a day like 9/11..thank you so much for adding his name!
                                                                          xoxoxo,
                                                                          Beach Chick

                                                                      3. Oh wow...I have tears in my eyes as I read this at work today. I think my shorties and I will be putting a few boxes together this week. I'm so excited to send a little bit of home to the other side of the world!

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: atcpa

                                                                          I am crying on how nice you all are..thank you atcpa!

                                                                        2. I sent Chris the link yesterday to this Chowhound post..
                                                                          Here is what he sent to me today:

                                                                          'holy crap !! 62 replies? wow... i honestly didnt expect that.

                                                                          well im really happy to hear that some people still do care about the guys that are over here. i know ive said it before but it makes a world of difference. we're always happy to get mail from home.

                                                                          i was reading the replies and stuff like nutter butters, oreos, fruit by the foot, gummi anything, and sunflower seeds are major hits too. i dont really think theres anything else, trust us - we're not that picky. '

                                                                          1. I think this is a great idea. We sent a lot of care packages to my nephew when he was in Iraq a couple of years ago and he reported that all the guys pretty much share their stuff when boxes arrive. We'll put something together for these men too.

                                                                            I remember when I was quite young we sent care packages much like has been described here to my cousin in Vietnam. The only thing I really remember that went into the box was Jiffy Pop popcorn. Apparently they would pop it over a can of Sterno. I asked my cousin years later if he remembered getting the packages. He said he did not recall getting them and that likely some REMF stole them. (Pardon the language there). We never had that problem with my nephew.

                                                                            1. Hey BC, sorry I'm so late on this thread. I might be missing it, but should all packages go to this same address or is there a whole list of them?

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: Rodzilla

                                                                                Hey Zilla..
                                                                                Better late than never...
                                                                                Send your foodie package to the address above in my first post and he is sharing with his unit..
                                                                                He is a Chowhound from the Las Vegas board..

                                                                                Easy peasy on the 'if it fits, it ships, 12x12 free box at the Post Office..half page Customs declaration form..group things together..no need to itemize every single thing..
                                                                                Here is the link for both to print out at home...domestic shipping with the APO as the city and the AE as the country and the zip.

                                                                                www.usps.com
                                                                                http://about.usps.com/forms/ps2976.pdf

                                                                                Chris says anything gummi bears, sunflower seeds, flavored packets for the water...car magazines...anything and so appreciated!

                                                                                Thanks so much for anything you can do!
                                                                                xoxoxo

                                                                              2. Oh, a surprising don't ship was large jars of peanut butter and jam, or so my friend was told.

                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                1. re: chowser

                                                                                  Seriously? How odd!

                                                                                  ~TDQ

                                                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                    I was trying to find out why--the best I can guess is that they might not have refrigeration but I don't know for sure.

                                                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                                                      Ah, that makes sense.

                                                                                      ~TDQ

                                                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                        Maybe if we enclosed a big bag of plastic spoons so each member of the platoon could take a big spoonful and pass it on...

                                                                                2. I just sent care packages of cookies to any troops through https://www.buttermaidbakery.com/inde.... Looks like a great way to send our troops some sweet treats!

                                                                                  1. And just sent 2 dozen M&M chocolate chip cookies and another oatmeal chocolate chip cookies from Butter Maid Bakery to Chris.

                                                                                    1. Greetings from afghanistan fellow chowhounds - Its me, chris (aka adam richman jr)

                                                                                      i just want to say that i'm absolutely overwhelmed at the response everyone has made. i've received about five packages so far and they've all been met with nothing but positive responses.

                                                                                      the base here has movie night during the weekend so i took half of the goodies up there and gave the other half to the guys in my shop. Trust me when i say when a military member sees a package from home with goodies in it - its like a feeding frenzy. the packages have been a huge hit and i just wanted to take the time to give everyone a huge THANK YOU from over here.

                                                                                      i cant explain how great it is to get mail from home over here, but its a really good feeling to know that people back home still care about the troops. god knows we're all ready to do regular things again like walk on solid ground (its just dirt and rocks over here), eat with real silverware (we get cardboard trays and plasticware) or cook our own food instead of eating what the chow hall serves. The place over here is not bad at all. we take care of each other and i work with a good group of guys so that makes it all the more fun.

                                                                                      Again i have to say thanks to everyone that replied to this topic. it really means a lot to us over here. ive chatted with beach chick over email and ive told her how thankful everyone is and they love the goodies.

                                                                                      ... and as always, stay hungry my friends

                                                                                      AR

                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: AdamRichmanJr

                                                                                        AR/Chris - *so* glad you are able to check in with us! Customs forms will be filled out tonight on what I've packed up, so keep an eye out for some more boxes in a few weeks.

                                                                                        Bless you and your buddies for all you're doing - thanks to you all, and stay safe.

                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                          '4 boxes from Linda'

                                                                                          You are a Rock Star Linda and its beyond words the happiness that you have brought to the guys over in Afghanistan, protecting and keeping us safe here in the USA.
                                                                                          Thank you again Linda for your extremely generous kindness!!!
                                                                                          xo

                                                                                          1. re: Beach Chick

                                                                                            Thanks. Chris Emailed me last week and told me the guys were thrilled, and *lots* of the goodies went to Friday's movie night. I'm glad everything was able to be distributed and used/eaten/read. As I told Chris, it was my honor to be able to do such a small thing for those who are serving.

                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                              You are MY hero!!!

                                                                                              It may seem a small thing to us but to the soldiers who are serving, it is HUGE for them and they are beyond thrilled...for one, not being forgotten and second, that a stranger took the time to send a package with all kinds of things that we here in our comfy homes, all kinds of food and drink at our disposal and these guys/gals are thrilled they have a packet of snapple to dissolve in their desert water that we sent them!

                                                                                        2. re: AdamRichmanJr

                                                                                          Hey Chris!
                                                                                          So great to hear from you on this post!!

                                                                                          The response from all the wonderful Chowhound's has been fantastic and I hope that 'foodie care packages' get you and your buddies through till December.

                                                                                          Keep safe and know we all have your back!

                                                                                        3. My husband is active duty and he always requests thing that can be a meal replacement. Protein Bars, Protein Drinks, etc. Things that are high in protein for the days when he doesn't have time to get to chow hall and has 5 min to eat. I even sent him Nerf guns and squirt guns to have some R and R with his buddies. A $5 Itunes gift card is great too. Just some ideas! THanks for doing this!

                                                                                          1. I have a list from work for a program we do called Support Our Troops. We try to collect enough for 5000 boxes to send to our deployed troops. As soon as I get a copy of it I will post it here since it is a pretty extensive list of things they have requested or we are allowed to send over.

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: vttp926

                                                                                              AA-cell Alkaline Batteries
                                                                                              Atomic Fireballs / Jolly Rancher hard candy (for service member use)
                                                                                              Avon Skin So Soft - great for removing face paint and also reputed to be an effective bug repellant (the latter seems variable based on personal experience and reports)
                                                                                              Baby Wipes - packets are better than tubs. Much better than baby wipes, per se, are the "Hoo Ahhs" brand of pre-moistened, alcohol-free, unscented Field Towels
                                                                                              Beef Jerky/Slim Jims
                                                                                              Brown or green boot socks
                                                                                              Cereal small variety packs
                                                                                              Chap Stick
                                                                                              Cheese & Crackers
                                                                                              Chewing Gum
                                                                                              Cookies individual packs
                                                                                              Copenhagen Snuff in a tin ("Even if the service member doesn't dip snuff, they will be a hero and have more power than the Commanding Officer if they have a 'log' (10 cans) of 'Hagen.' A large percentage of infantry use this stuff and it is hard to get. The stuff they do get comes in a plastic can and tastes terrible. The 'Stateside Hagen' is the most powerful bargaining tool in a field environment!")
                                                                                              Disposable Cameras
                                                                                              Energy Bars (Power Bar, etc. - Unless a specific brand is requested, much better than standard civilian energy bars are the "HOOAH!" brand energy bar based on the U.S. military's own specially formulated bar that better meets the soliers' needs)
                                                                                              Eye Wash / Drops (Visine, etc.) for flushing dust and sand out of the eyes
                                                                                              Fruit - In Plastic containers
                                                                                              Gum & Candy
                                                                                              Hand Sanitizer small
                                                                                              Hand written letters
                                                                                              Hot Sauce (Tabasco, Red Devil, etc.) - wrap glass bottle in duct tape and place in doubled zip-lock bags
                                                                                              Medicated Foot powder
                                                                                              Note paper & pens
                                                                                              Peanut butter small plastic & Jelly squeeze
                                                                                              Peanuts
                                                                                              Personal Hygiene Gear: Disposable Razors, Toothbrush and Tooth Paste
                                                                                              Powdered drink mix (gatorade, lemonade) regular size
                                                                                              Powdered Energy/Electrolyte Replacement Drink Mix (Gatorade, etc.)
                                                                                              Pre-paid Phone Card so service member can call home
                                                                                              Pudding in the tubes
                                                                                              Q-Tips small package
                                                                                              Ranch Salad Dressing regular size
                                                                                              Razors
                                                                                              Seasoning Salt (Lawry's, etc.)
                                                                                              Slim Jims
                                                                                              Smarties or SweetTart candies (for local children who prefer sour style candy to build relationships with community)
                                                                                              Sunflower seeds
                                                                                              Tabasco Hot Sauce
                                                                                              Thank You Cards
                                                                                              Tony Chacerie's Seasoning
                                                                                              Turkey, Tuna or Chicken - In foil bag
                                                                                              Velveeta cheese regular size
                                                                                              Visine
                                                                                              Zip-Lock style Plastic Storage Bags - assorted sizes, heavier freezer style are better

                                                                                            2. We took a box to the post office today and the clerk said "Oh, another box for Chris Mathern!" We don't live in a big city but somebody else besides me is reading this board. We sent some Oreos, sunflower seeds, Tic Tacs and a few other things. It isn't much but I wanted them to know that we certainly haven't forgotten them.

                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: Jambie

                                                                                                HAHAHAHA! That is SO great.

                                                                                                And, Chris, we are so grateful for the hard work of you and your fellow service-folk. We hope our boxes brighten your day!

                                                                                                ~TDQ

                                                                                                1. re: Jambie

                                                                                                  Love Love Love that story!

                                                                                                2. Just heard from Chris..

                                                                                                  'I've received another box and no lie - the box was emptied within two minutes. its great to see that everyone's kindness is so welcome. we were even able to give some extra stuff to some of the afghans that are working here. they were very happy to get the stuff.... see, chowhound is making inroads to peace in the middle east. lol'

                                                                                                  Chowhound making peace in the Middle East...how great is that!
                                                                                                  ; )

                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: Beach Chick

                                                                                                    Nice--thanks for letting us know. And, to keep in mind so we can keep the boxes going.

                                                                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                                                                      ;-)

                                                                                                  2. Just heard from Chris in Afghanistan...

                                                                                                    'I've received a total of six more boxes ( four from linda ) and the goodies were immediately snapped up. I took some to movie night last night and the boxes were very popular. people are still very thankful when they get even a couple things from the boxes. these have been a huge hit and everyone at chow is due a huge "thank you" for doing this for us.

                                                                                                    things have certainly calmed down over here the last few weeks with not much to work on, but we've kept busy with more shop projects and helping out other bases with their stuff.'

                                                                                                    I thank all of you wonderful posters who have sent foodie goodie packages to the guys over in Afghanistan...it means SO much to them and as I sit here crying with tears of happiness, it means so much to me too!!!

                                                                                                    Let's keep it going till Chris gets home safe and sound to his family...December.
                                                                                                    xo

                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. re: Beach Chick

                                                                                                      He sent us a really nice thank you note. It's nice of him to take the time from, I'm sure, a busy schedule.

                                                                                                    2. Chris Mathern
                                                                                                      MANTECH / SOCOM
                                                                                                      Tarin Kowt / FOB Ripley
                                                                                                      APO AE 09380

                                                                                                      Need to download and print out a half page Customs Form..super easy peasy..don't need to list every single item..group them with $ amounts.

                                                                                                      http://about.usps.com/forms/ps2976.pdf

                                                                                                      Shipping is about $10+ for the USPS 12x12 free box at the Post Office..
                                                                                                      'If it fits, it ships' for the APO as the 'City' and the 'AE' is the Country...ships domestically
                                                                                                      Up to 80lbs for $10+...what a deal.

                                                                                                      www.USPS.com

                                                                                                      .99 Cent Store has lots of great things for the soldiers..they love: candy, beef jerky, baby wipes, shampoo, lotion, deodorant, magazines/books, gum, chapstick, packets of Crystal Light/Snapple to put into their water..

                                                                                                      Trust me, you'll feel like a billion dollars when you pay it forward to a soldier who is serving and protecting us..

                                                                                                      1. Don't use Amazon for this. When I saw this morning's post by BeachChick, it reminded me to check with Amazon re: the status of my shipment. AGAIN. I shipped it over a month ago and this is the second time I've inquired about the status.

                                                                                                        I just received a notice saying the packages I shipped have been lost. :(

                                                                                                        I'm going to have to start over again. I'm so disappointed.

                                                                                                        ~TDQ

                                                                                                        8 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                          Oh NO, TDQ!!! Are they going to reimburse you the cost of the items?

                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                            Yeah, they are, so that's good. But now sending a package will require a trip to the post office which I won't have time to do for several weeks at this point...

                                                                                                            ~TDQ

                                                                                                          2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                            And P.S. The USPS flat rate boxes REALLY hold a lot of stuff, especially the large one. Doesn't look like it will, but when it all gets in there, it's surprising how much fits.

                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                              Yeah, I know. The problem is, with a toddler, a full-time job, and some unexpected international travel looming, I don't have time to do my grocery shopping (I have groceries delivered), let alone go pick out stuff for Chris. AND THEN get a box from the post office and pack and mail it. The beauty of the Amazon solution is that I could shop and ship all online, and then shipping is free because I have amazon prime. Except, of course, it didn't work.

                                                                                                              ~TDQ

                                                                                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                WHAT? You mean you can't handle one more thing on your plate?????? :-)

                                                                                                                Totally understand. Well, I don't exactly, as I don't have a toddler and unexpected international travel.

                                                                                                                But look at it this way - Chris and his buddies will continue getting packages well into November, shortening the length of time before he can get some of this stuff on his own when he's back in the States.

                                                                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                  TDQ -- I'm pretty sure USPS will deliver a box to you, at no charge it looks like: https://store.usps.com/store/browse/c... And that they'll pick it up once it's packed, and you can print the postage at home. Not that I've done it myself, and realizing that doesn't solve the problem of when to do the shopping -- but if I'm right about this, you could skip the two trips to the post office at least.

                                                                                                                  I'm impressed that you even attempted to take this on when you're so busy! (Putting me, at least, to shame, with not nearly as good excuses for putting off good intentions.) So just thought I'd mention it, in case it helps....

                                                                                                                  1. re: mselectra

                                                                                                                    Hey! Thanks for that info. Hmmm...that has possibilities, actually. I could have Amazon ship the stuff to me (instead of to Chris, and it would still be free shipping because I'm a prime member) then I could repack it all in one of those USPS boxes that I have the post-office bring me! It's still a lot to do, but almost all of it can be done from my computer and/or from home when baby is sleeping.

                                                                                                                    ~TDQ

                                                                                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                      Sorry to hear TDQ what has happened at Amazon..but it looks like this will be the ticket as a redo.
                                                                                                                      Thanks for all you are trying to do with a toddler et al..

                                                                                                            2. Just received a postcard from Chris, thanking me for my care package. Made my day! He sounds like a really nice guy.

                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                I too,just just a Greetings from Afghanistan postcard from Chris,with much Thanks,sent on Sept. 19th,so it took about 3 weeks to get to me here in Seattle. I am def. sending another box-full
                                                                                                                next week!
                                                                                                                I think this is such a fantastic show of support for our troops!

                                                                                                                1. re: grangie angie

                                                                                                                  You are rocking it grangie angie...thank you again for what you are doing for Chris and his buddies over in Afghanistan!

                                                                                                                  Love that you are sending another box full too...woooo hooooo!

                                                                                                                2. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                  Chris is a great guy and a avid Chowhounder who can't wait to get back home from deployment in Afghanistan to be with his children and family and dine at all the wonderful restaurants that Vegas has to offer.

                                                                                                                  Thanks so much pikawicca for your kindness!!

                                                                                                                3. I have a question, since Chris is obviously a food lover. I always put in magazines, generally fitness. I've though about putting in food magazines but thought it might be a tease because they're so far removed. Yay or no on adding food magazines?

                                                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                    And I put in a couple of car magazines in one of my boxes. But I don't see why not putting in the food magazines.

                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                      My friend has a car company that receives tons of fancy schmancy cars and he has about 50 mags saved for me for Chris...he's going to go nuts!

                                                                                                                    2. re: chowser

                                                                                                                      You could put a magazine on 'Paint Drying' and he/Chris and his buddies would be so appreciative...he did state that he is crazy about cars..anything with wheels..
                                                                                                                      I gave up my beloved MAD magazine which he loved!
                                                                                                                      I got a few mags from Vegas on food and beer and he loved them..

                                                                                                                      Thanks chowser!!

                                                                                                                      1. re: Beach Chick

                                                                                                                        the magazines might be a tease but might be a reminder of what to find at home for the guys and gals on return (well OK that's shallow, I meant beyond the obvious of family and friends).

                                                                                                                        there have been times in my life just an old phone book was welcome reading material.

                                                                                                                        1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                          ; )

                                                                                                                    3. Hello, BC! :)
                                                                                                                      Just found this thread...is it still OK to send care packages to Chris and his crew, or will it not arrive before he comes home?
                                                                                                                      bb

                                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: buzzardbreath

                                                                                                                        Buzzard!!
                                                                                                                        Yes, Chris and his buddies are there till around Christmas time and they would be so thrilled to receive a package from you!

                                                                                                                        I sent the 'if it fits, it ships' from the Post Office and the 14x14 box is free and here is the link to print out for the half form for the Customs declaration.

                                                                                                                        Thank you again Buzzard Breath!

                                                                                                                        www.usps.com
                                                                                                                        http://about.usps.com/forms/ps2976.pdf

                                                                                                                        1. re: Beach Chick

                                                                                                                          Thanks for the links, they will be a big help! I am a 4th generation San Diego native so I have a heartfelt appreciation for our military. I live in rural Central Valley now but will be going to "the big city" sometime this week for grocery stock-up so a box will be on its way real soon. Flat rate boxes and I are old friends, and I'm always glad to send a little bit of "home" to our people in the service. :)

                                                                                                                          1. re: buzzardbreath

                                                                                                                            4th generation SD....solid buzzard!
                                                                                                                            Again, thank you for your support!

                                                                                                                        2. re: buzzardbreath

                                                                                                                          buzzard, the boxes I sent arrived in about 8 days, so there's still plenty of time. Definitely use the flat rate boxes from the Post Office. They fit a LOT of items in those boxes.

                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                            Thanks Linda! I appreciate a timeframe so I know how long I have to work with. :-)

                                                                                                                        3. hi guys - its chris again. i just wanted to let everyone know that we've been absolutely overwhelmed with the response that this thread has generated. i actually got two more packages today. everyone here is getting pretty used to the goodies so they're eagerly awaiting whats in these.

                                                                                                                          for everyone thats interested, i'm scheduled to leave out of here the first week of december. the packages that i've been receiving have averaged 7-10 days travel time, so i guess the "cut off" date would be around the next to last week of november.

                                                                                                                          i've done my best to thank everyone for sending us these goodies. if i dont have your email i do apologize but trust me, everything that i've got has been VERY warmly welcomed. i cant thank everyone enough for their kindness and generosity. its made everyone really happy here.

                                                                                                                          have a great week - and as always.... stay hungry my friends.

                                                                                                                          chris ( AKA adam richman jr. )

                                                                                                                          6 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: AdamRichmanJr

                                                                                                                            Chris, if you didn't get my box yet, you will be soon....and as I wrote in my note, I did raise a few glasses to you when I was in Vegas last weekend. My table of 12 at Sage raised one for you! Thanks for your service!

                                                                                                                            1. re: atcpa

                                                                                                                              Solid bruddha atcpa...solid!
                                                                                                                              I toasted to Chris too in Vegas in September...did a lot of toasting to Chris!
                                                                                                                              ;- )

                                                                                                                              1. re: atcpa

                                                                                                                                Lori - I got your package today. It arrived in seven days. Thank you so much !! I have to admit the swedish fish were destroyed in about ten seconds LOL. (theyre one of my most favorite candies) The poems from your kids (i assume) were very cute too.

                                                                                                                                Everyone here loved your box. Thanks again for doing this for everyone here. Its nice to know that people still support the military. Have a great rest of the weekend.

                                                                                                                                chris

                                                                                                                              2. re: AdamRichmanJr

                                                                                                                                Chris, what is your e-mail address? There's only a link to the Yahoo home page on your Chowhound profile page.

                                                                                                                                1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                                  Jay - just remove the http:// portion of what you see on Chris's profile page to get his Email address. That is a static CHOW feature for those people who have a blog to make it auto-linkable, although I think more people use that space for Email addresses. Just can't remove the starting URL address portion, as it's a permanent feature from CHOW.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                    Thank you so much, Linda. I would never have thought to do that.

                                                                                                                              3. When Chris leaves, maybe he could post the name of someone he know who WON'T be leaving
                                                                                                                                and we'll send boxes to that lucky person. My box to Chris goes off on Monday. Thanks to all
                                                                                                                                you people in the armed forces who serve.

                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: amazinc

                                                                                                                                  Oh yes....great idea! Post the name of another soldier....I'll def. send.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: amazinc

                                                                                                                                    Just an FYI for posters here, based on the address it appears Chris is not a "soldier" but a MANTECH contractor. Is he supporting the troops? Yes. Is he being rewarded quite handsomely for this temporary contracted work? Yes. Just a thought before anyone pictures a lowly private sleeping in the mud.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Timmy McTimmerson

                                                                                                                                      fair enough, IIRC the contractors are paid well, but they face the same dangers, live in the same conditions and don't (important distinction) don't qualify for VA or GI benefits.

                                                                                                                                  2. Since it seems like we've reached the deadline for mailing things to Chris, we're going to lock this thread now.