There is no denying the immense service and sacrifice of our U.S. military soldiers. Those who willingly put their lives on the line to protect the freedoms and liberties of America deserve to be treated with care and respect; this applies both during and after the deployment of a soldier.
If you’re interested in thanking the amazing service members who fight for this country, then you should learn how to adopt a U.S. soldier. Adopting a U.S. soldier involves sending letters and care packages to them.
While these may seem like simple gestures to you, the willingness to reach out to a deployed individual in this manner really makes a difference to those who are selflessly serving America.
Adopt a U.S. Soldier: What You Need to Know
Now that you’re on board with adopting a U.S. soldier, your awareness of how to go about doing this is important. Following the proper protocols and procedures will ensure that your U.S. soldier gets the letter and/or care package that you put together for them.
The Registration Process
In order to adopt a U.S. soldier, you first have to register. More often than not, you can go online to do this and then fill out the applicable registration form. The form should ask for information such as your name, location, etc. After completing this part of the registration process, you should receive an email which asks you to confirm your information details; this part of the process is generally referred to as “validation.”
Following the successful completion of validation, you should gain access to the portion of the website which contains a forum and additional information. At this point, you should wait to hear from the Adopt a U.S. Soldier volunteers; volunteers with this organization should email you the details regarding the servicemember you’re adopting and where to send your letter and/or care package.
What to Include in a Letter
Part of successfully adopting a U.S. soldier involves knowing what to include in the letter which you’ll be sending to them. Bear in mind that a letter of this nature is designed to provide aid, comfort, and support to the deployed person.
If you’re sending a letter, thanking your soldier for their service and letting them know that they’re appreciated can truly go a long way. A brief inclusion of some information about yourself is typically a good idea, along with steering clear of political or religious matters. Some great ideas of appropriate topics include the weather, books, sports, food, etc. When writing to your servicemember, remember not to add a year or date; sometimes a considerable amount of time passes before soldiers receive the letters being sent to them.
As you conclude your letter, make sure that your contact information is listed so that your U.S. soldier can respond to you. Please be advised that a response is not guaranteed; service members are incredibly busy and may not always have time to respond. You may very well hear back from the U.S. soldier you’ve adopted, but if not, don’t take it personally.
Writing to a deployed person on a weekly basis is usually recommended, even if they don’t always respond to you right away. Weekly letters can ensure that your service member knows you haven’t forgotten about them or simply given up on communicating. Consistent letters also truly help the morale of service members who are fighting to defend this country.
What to Include in a Care Package
When sending a care package, knowing what to include is always important. Of course, you have some freedom and flexibility to make choices; however, it’s important to be sure that the included items are not prohibited and will be of use to the soldier you’re adopting. Depending on the specific location of your Adopt a U.S. Soldier recipient, there may be slight variations in what’s allowed or preferable. However, more often than not, care packages should include snacks, toiletries, and appropriate sources of entertainment.
When including food or drink into a care package, you’re going to want to take the necessary precautions to ensure that everything is sent and contained in the proper manner. This means seeing to it that any and all liquids are sealed in ziplock bags and bubble wrap; doing so prevents breaks, spills, and leaks which can ruin other items being shipped to your servicemember.
As you prepare a care package for a U.S. soldier, don’t be afraid to get creative with various themes. You can create your own themes or draw inspiration from presently existing themes, such as patriotism, sports, festivities, etc. Theme-based care packages also usually contain items which adhere to the chosen theme; of course, you have a lot of room for flexibility and options. Don’t be afraid to get original or creative!
Some of the best food and drink items to include in a care package for a U.S. soldier are as follows:
- Peanut butter
- Tuna fish
- Energy bars
- Energy drinks
- Tuna fish
- Beef jerky
- Ramen noodles
- Powdered drink mixes
Some of the most in-demand toiletries for service members are as follows:
- Fingernail clippers
- Baby wipes
- First aid kits
- Eye drops
- Feminine hygiene products
- Foot powder
The following items are prohibited from any letter or care package being sent in order to adopt a U.S. soldier:
- Fresh produce
- Carbonated drinks
- Lithium batteries
To prevent running into any issues with the process of adopting a service member, obtaining a list of prohibited items from the U.S. Post Office is advised.
Why You Should Adopt a U.S. Soldier
Adopting a U.S. soldier is one of the greatest ways to ensure that service members don’t feel completely alone while fighting for the liberties and freedoms of America. A kind letter can go a very long way, as can a thoughtful care package.
Many service members who have received letters or care packages thanks to Adopt a U.S. Soldier have noted the benefits. Soldiers are on record noting that being adopted brought happiness into their lives, brightened their days, and reminded them that they’re cared for. This is something which all service members should know and get to experience for themselves.
The decision to adopt a deployed soldier will not only benefit them, but it will also help you. Good deeds and care for others are practices which should be encouraged because they tend to ripple out in ways that can’t always be anticipated. Your adoption of a U.S. soldier may encourage others to adopt a service member of their own; it can also bring a smile to the face of a deployed soldier who truly needs it.
Paying it Forward
Understanding the importance of Adopt a U.S. Soldier matters just as much as understanding how it works. Knowing how to send soldiers letters ensures that you can effectively communicate with those who serve and share your gratitude with them. Likewise, awareness of advisable items to include in care packages (and the prohibited items to leave out) allows your service member to make good use of what you send them.
Adopting more than one U.S. soldier is also an option, especially if you have the time, resources, and interest in doing so. There are many civilians who regularly send different letters and care packages to deployed individuals in order to thank them for their service to the United States.