I just sent the first care package to a soldier whom I “adopted” through Adopt a U.S. Soldier. I know very little about him, just his name, what state he’s from, and that he’s in the Army. I sent him protein bars, Ritz peanut butter cracker sandwiches, a magazine, AA batteries, and laundry pods.
I was surprised by the kinds of items soldiers typically request, including laundry detergent, soap, towels, pillows, and snacks. I would have thought the military would provide everything the soldiers would need and reasonably want.
I adopted a soldier previously and sent her a package of protein bars, laundry detergent, and feminine napkins, at her request. I feel bad now that I didn’t continue sending packages when I didn’t hear from her again after her one letter. I didn’t realize the arrangement is to adopt them for the duration of their deployment. I hope she was sponsored by other people at the same time who were more on the ball than I was.
One thing I really appreciate is that the soldier provided his email address, so I’ve already exchanged emails with him. I intend to write to him once per week and send one care package per month. The site recommends sending snail mail letters each week as the soldiers sometimes have to wait in long lines to access computers. “The soldiers are known to put these letters into their pockets before going out on missions so that they are able to re-read them if they have a spare moment.”
I can’t imagine what it’s like to be away from your friends and family for months or even a year to two years at a time. I imagine they are tired from working long days, concerned that local folks resent that they’re there, and frustrated that people back home misunderstand who they are and what they’re doing.
I was partly inspired to adopt a soldier because I watch Mike Rowe’s Facebook show “Returning the Favor.” They find people around the country who are giving back to their community, publicize their work, and give them resources to help them continue and sometimes expand their work.
Many of the organizations on the show help veterans, by giving them a free used truck, giving them a trained service dog, or teaching them job skills like motorcycle maintenance and repair.
I haven’t researched it enough, but I get the sense that soldiers returning home aren’t getting enough support to find housing, jobs, or adequate medical care. I don’t know how to fix that, but I hope that by reminding this one soldier that I appreciate what he’s doing and sending him funny stories, snacks, and laundry soap, I can help make his deployment pass more quickly and comfortably.
Please share this post with anyone you think might be interested in adopting a U.S. soldier.