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Adopt-a-Soldier (Read 29432 times)
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08/25/10 at 10:38am
This web site and forum have always been "For, About, and By Bluff Park, Alabama".  We're about to make an exception.
My son is a soldier in the 1-14 Infantry Battalion, 2nd Stryker Brigade, 25th Infantry Division based at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii.  Currently his company is deployed in Iraq, having arrived there in the beginning of July.  They are part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, which, as of Sept. 1 will turn into Operation New Dawn.  As you may have been reading, our combat troops will convert to an "Advise and Assist" role as of that date.  Based on what we're hearing from over there, there's still hostilities taking place.  Their company will be there until July 2011, at which time they are supposed to return to Hawaii after having completed their mission.  Since their arrival they have lost two of their men to hostile activities.  They go out on patrol on a daily basis, sometimes more than once.
The guys over there are based in a location where they can't just run down to the local Wal Mart or the Super Target like we can.  They rely on packages that are sent from family back home.  Our soldier is blessed in that he has a lot of family and friends that send him those things that we take for granted, but they value like gold.  Things like baby wipes, drink mixes, deodorant, toothpaste, shampoo, and other things that I'll list in a follow-up post.
One of the cool things about technology is that I'm able to talk to our soldier on an almost daily basis via Facebook and Skype.  Not only does that bring peace of mind, but it also allows us to communicate and talk about everyday things.  Today I told him that three more boxes were shipped to him yesterday.  I then asked him if anyone there was not getting boxes like he was.  Immediately he answered "Epp".  Epp is his roommate from Hawaii.  Apparently Epp doesn't have any family, so he doesn't get boxes like the rest do.  Our soldier shares his things with Epp, but I'd like us to go a step further.  I'd like the Bluff Park community to "adopt a soldier".
The Adopt-a-Soldier would work as follows:  We would designate a central drop-off location where people could bring items.  Nothing extravagant or expensive.  A pack of baby wipes (they use that to cleanse themselves while out on missions - the temperature there is 146 degrees, they are wearing 55 lbs. of armor, and are carrying a 10-26 lb. weapon and ammo), a couple of boxes of single drink mix envelopes, a bag or two of gummy bears, toothpaste, etc.  Again, I'll post a complete list in a follow-up post.  And perhaps a dollar to cover shipping.  If you want to add a personal touch to it, enclose a card with your name and address on it (and e-mail, as postal mail is not as easy for them as e-mail is).  I would then send out boxes on a weekly basis to our adopted soldier to show him how much we appreciate what he is doing for our country.
We always say how much we appreciate our soldier's service to our country.  Here's a chance to show it.
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Re: Adopt-a-Soldier
Reply #1 - 08/25/10 at 11:15am
That sounds like a great idea!
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Re: Adopt-a-Soldier
Reply #2 - 08/25/10 at 1:48pm
List of items that our "Adopt-a-Soldier" might enjoy:
This list is compiled from both what they have asked for, and from the “Themed” items at the end of the list, which comes to us from Schofield Barracks.  
•      Baby wipes
•      Single drink mixes for water bottles
•      Shampoo
•      Soap
•      Deodorant
•      Toothbrush
•      Toothpaste
•      Eye wash
•      Nasal spray
•      Chapstick
•      Bandana
•      Tea
•      Cocoa
•      Coffee (instant)
•      Coffee Singles
•      Creamer
•      Sugar
•      International Coffee Tins
•      Cookies
•      Grey Poupon
•      Electronic Games
•      Sunscreen
•      Beach Snacks
•      Shower Shoes
•      Aleo Vera Gel
•      Aspirin
•      Band-Aids
•      Gummy Bears (6 lbs. for $5.97 at Sam’s Club!)
•      Neosporin Cream
•      Cold Medicine
•      Alka Seltzer
•      Rolaids/Tums
•      Nutrition Bars (Powerbar, Tigers Milk, Myoplex)
•      Vitamins
•      Nutri-grain Bars
•      Granola Bars
•      Gatorade or other sports drink mix
•      Notebook paper
•      Stationary
•      Pens
•      Pencils
•      Envelopes
•      Address book
•      Deck of Cards
•      Dominoes
•      Toilet Paper (the soft stuff)
•      Razor refills
•      Foot powder
•      Bars of Soap
•      Fresh, clean washcloths
•      Body wash
•      Travel size shampoo/conditioner
•      M & Ms
•      Nuts
•      Chips
•      Dips
•      Crackers
•      Jelly Beans
•      Beef Jerky
•      Gum
•      Multigrain Bars
•      Instant Oatmeal
•      Small Boxes of Cereal
•      Pop Tarts
•      Hostess Pastries
•      Otis Spunkmeyer Muffins
•      Tang
•      Back scratcher
•      Bubble wrap
•      Yo-yo
•      Squeezy Tension Ball
•      Peanuts
•      Cashews
•      Pistachios
•      Peanut Butter Cookies
•      Nutter Butters
•      Pop Rocks
•      Hot Tamales Candy
•      Small cans of Chili
•      Red Pepper Flakes
•      Salsa Sunflower Seeds
•      Cajun Flavor Pringles (or any Pringles
•      Spicy Chex Mix
•      Boston Red Hots
•      Peppered Beef Jerky
•      Taco Bell Hot Sauce Packets
•      Chili Powder
•      Nacho Cheese Sauce in Can
•      Dr. Scholl’s Foot Inserts
•      Foot Lotion
•      Foot File
•      Fresh Clean Socks
•      Toe Nail Clippers
•      Scrub Brush
•      Odor Eaters for Boots
•      Foot Soaks (include a large ziplock bag)
•      Regular Oreos
•      Peanut Butter Oreos
•      Double Stuff Oreos
•      Low Fat Oreos
•      Chocolate Filled Oreos
•      Chocolate Covered Oreos
•      Holiday Oreos
•      Mexican Velveeta
•      Salsa
•      Small Can Olives (don’t forget can opener)
•      Bean Dip
•      Nacho Cheese Dip
•      Small Can of Green Chiles
•      Jar of Jalapenos
•      Taco Seasoning
•      Taco Sauce
•      Nerds
•      Laffy Taffy
•      Bubble Gum
•      Tootsie Rolls
•      Lolli Pops (any candy that won’t melt)
•      Goldfish crackers
•      Tuna pouches
•      Canned smoked salmon
Here are some Themed Care Package Ideas:
" Surviving the Sandstorms"- Eye wash; Nasal spray; Chapstick;
Bandana; goggles/sun glasses; etc
"Lotta Java"- Tea; Cocoa; Coffee singles; creamer; sugar;
International Coffee tins; cookies for dunking in coffee
"Thanks a Million!!"- Things that may "seem" expensive. Ex: Grey
Poupon; electronic game of "Who wants to be a Millionaire?"; .
"A Day at the Beach!"- sunscreen; beach towel; beach snacks; flip
flop sandals (shower shoes); aloe vera gel;
"Medicine Cabinet"- aspirin; band-aids; Neosporin cream; A&D
ointment; cold medicine; alka seltzer; Rolaids; etc.
"Staying Healthy"- nutrition/health bars (ex: Powerbar; Tigers Milk;
Myoplex); vitamins; Nutri-grain bars; Gatorade or other sports drink
(to stay hydrated);
"Correspondence Carton"- notebook paper; stationery; pens; pencils;
stickers (who knows they may even play with these!!); envelopes, address book (filled out already of course); camera (with a note to send back once it is full);
"Action Hero's"- Powerbars; squirt guns; Red Bull drinks; small Army
figurines; comic books; Gatorade; Red Bull drinks; etc
"To Be A Kid Again"- silly string; bubbles; small bouncy balls; hacky sacks; brain teaser toys (rubix cube, etc); deck of cards; dominoes; slinky, Frisbee's; Pez w/ dispenser; Nerf balls; sand box toys (pail, small shovel, etc);
"Bathroom in a Box"- TOILET PAPER!!! (the soft stuff); razor refills;
foot powder; bars of soap; fresh, clean, soft washcloth; travel-size shampoo/conditioner; toothpaste; toothbrush; etc
"Ruck Sack Snack Pack"- packed full of your loved one's favorite
snacks?.possibilit ies endless. Doritos; M&M's; nuts; chips; dips; crackers; jelly beans; beef jerky; gum; etc.
"Breakfast on the GO"- mutrigrain bars; instant oatmeal cups; small
boxes of cereal; pop tarts; Hostess donuts: Otis Spunk Meyer muffins; cocoa; coffee; Tang;
"Stress Reliever"- back scratcher; bubble wrap; yo-yo's; bubbles;
squeezy tension ball;
"I'm Nuts About You"- peanuts; cashews; pistachios; peanut butter
cookies; any candy or cookies with nuts in them; Nutter Butter's; Peanut Lover's Chex mix; Fiddle Faddle with peanuts
"Rock On" or "Charlie ROCK"- pop rocks; music cd's
"Chili Today, Hot Tamale"- hot tamales (candy); small cans of chili;
red pepper flakes (like the ones at pizza parlors); salsa sunflower seeds; Cajun flavor Pringles; Spicy chex mix; Boston red hots; peppered beef jerky; taco bell hot sauce packets; Extreme Doritos; chili powder; nacho cheese sauce in a can; Tums/Rolaids .. etc  
“And this little piggy went to the sandbox”- (foot care kit)- foot powder; Dr, Scholl’s boot inserts; foot lotion; foot file; fresh, clean socks; toe nail clippers; scrub brush; odor eaters for shoes/boots; foot soaks (either include a small bucket or large Ziploc bags to soak feet it)  
“How do you eat your OREOS??!!”- regular Oreos; peanut butter Oreos; double stuff Oreos; low fat Oreos; chocolate filled Oreos; chocolate covered Oreos; holiday Oreos  
“Muchas Gracias…Nachos Supreme”- Doritos &/or Fritos &/or any corn tortilla chips; Mexican Velveeta; salsa (wrapped in bubble wrap); small can of olives (don’t forget the can opener); bean dip; nacho cheese dip; small can of green chilies; jar of jalapenos (wrapped in bubble wrap); taco seasoning; small paper plates or bowls (so they can make their nachos); taco sauce (especially easy are those condiment packets from Taco Bell); You could also send the sauces from the various Mexican dinner kits (they also have tortilla’s in those dinner kits that are sealed so they would probably get there without molding or drying out); Taco Bell Nacho Supreme kit  
“Sweet Tooth”- Nerds; Gummy Bears; Laffy Taffy; Bubble Gum; Tootsie Rolls; Lolli pops; (any candy that won’t melt)  
“Congrats on your promotion”- congratulation party favors; all your loved ones favorites snacks; sparkled cider (wrapped in bubble wrap of course); etc.
“For the Fisherman”- Goldfish crackers; tuna pouches; canned smoked salmon; cans of sardines; gummy worms; Go Fish card game; Field & Stream magazine; electronic fishing rod game; Sponge Bob Square Pants stuffed toy; fishing game toy (made by several different toy companies. Has a small fishing pole with a magnet on the end. Fish have magnets on their mouths);
“Say CHEEEESE!”- disposable cameras; cheese dip; Doritos; Cheetos; Cheese nips; Better Cheddars; Velveeta;  
“Kick Back & Relax”- Dominoes; playing cards; magazines; books; music cd’s; crossword puzzles; jigsaw puzzles; word searches; hand held electronic games; squirt guns; wate r balloons; bubbles; hacky sacks; Nerf balls; board games (Axis & Allies, Clue, Trivial Pursuit, etc);  
“Christmas in July”- wrap everything in Christmas wrapping paper; peppermint flavored hard candies;  
“Italian Stallion”- Italian cheese Ghardetto’s; Pizza-licious Pringles; Pepperoni pizza Combo’s; small Boboli pizza bread; pizza sauce (for dipping Boboli); canned Ravioli, spaghetti, lasagna, etc;  
“American Classics”- Pez with dispensers; Cracker Jacks; Lifesavers; Necco Wafers; Pop Rocks; Nerds; Good & Plenty; Candy Necklaces; Candy cigarettes  
“Deployed on Thanksgiving”- canned turkey; instant mashed potato cups; hard breadsticks; gravy in a jar (wrapped in bubble wrap); Hostess apple pies; small can of corn (or other veggie); something special to cheer them up on  
**Thanksgiving (pictures from home; magazines; tape recorded tape; small scrapbook; etc )  
1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix  
8 straight-sided wide-mouth pint canning jars with lids and rings  
Prepare the cake according to package instructions, or use any cake recipe.  
In pint, straight-sided wide-mouth jars, put 1 cup of batter in each greased jar. Make sure to keep the rims of the jars clean. Put in preheated oven 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Place jars on a cookie sheet to keep from tipping over while baking.  
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into cake comes out clean.  
While they are baking, have your jar lids boiling in a pan of water. When the cake is done, take one jar out at a time and add the hot lid and screw on your jar ring and let set and cool.  
It will seal as it cools. Place the jars on the counter and listen for them to 'ping' as they seal. If you miss the 'ping', wait until they are completely cool and press on the top of the lid. If it doesn't move at all, it's sealed.  
After it cools it will pull away from the jar and when you are ready to eat, open and pop out the cake and enjoy. Lasts awhile so great for sending to deployed soldiers!
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Re: Adopt-a-Soldier
Reply #3 - 08/25/10 at 2:00pm
Drop off locations will soon be posted.
Remember, just get one or two of the items listed.  We'll put them together and ship them out.  If you can put a $1.00 bill to help with shipping, that would be great.  Don't forget to also include your names and any notes you want to add so that our soldier will know who it came from!
Download the complete list here:  http://www.bluffparkal.org/Docs/Adopt-a-Soldier_List.pdf  (Adobe Reader required).
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Re: Adopt-a-Soldier
Reply #4 - 08/25/10 at 5:56pm
you may also want to consider printed material, magazines, books, newspapers, comics, car mags, outdoor mags etc. Also, when my son was in Afghanistan, I sent him some hair clippers. This may not be something that they would want to carry on a daily basis but they could probably use it.
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Re: Adopt-a-Soldier
Reply #5 - 08/25/10 at 8:08pm
Thanks for the tip, just_wondering!  If anyone else has things they suggest be added to the list, please put it on this forum.
The following sponsors have agreed to be drop-off locations so far:
Robert's Discount Pharmacy
Hoover Fitness

We'll add more as soon as we hear from them.
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Re: Adopt-a-Soldier
Reply #6 - 08/25/10 at 11:20pm
This is a great idea-we think this is entirely appropriate for the Bluff Park site! There wouldn't be a Bluff Park if it weren't for the service of men and women who have fought for AND are still fighting to keep our land FREE!
Thanks for letting us know about this-we all can do something, I'm sure!
Great idea and the list is very helpful.
We are all thankful to you and your son for the sacrifices you have made-thank you so much!
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Re: Adopt-a-Soldier
Reply #7 - 08/26/10 at 5:38am
Another drop-off location:
Moonlight on the Mountain
Please note that they are open mostly in the evenings, not in the mornings.
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Re: Adopt-a-Soldier
Reply #8 - 08/26/10 at 11:54am
Love this idea.  Maybe in the future we can get Epp to join us here, maybe on his own page, so we can leave him messages, find out what he would like to get from us!
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Re: Adopt-a-Soldier
Reply #9 - 08/26/10 at 12:36pm
Quote from JBH on 08/26/10 at 11:54am:
Love this idea.  Maybe in the future we can get Epp to join us here, maybe on his own page, so we can leave him messages, find out what he would like to get from us!

I asked Brooks today what Epp needs most of all right now (but I haven't told him what we are doing) and he said snacks, food, candy, drink mixes.
I think putting his own page on the forum would be a great idea.  We'll send him the log in info with the first set of boxes.
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Re: Adopt-a-Soldier
Reply #10 - 08/26/10 at 12:44pm
I did not see it on the list - but the last time I did this, we sent a good many OFF spray in a pump bottle - sand fleas soldiers crazy.
This is a grand idea.
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Re: Adopt-a-Soldier
Reply #11 - 08/31/10 at 1:02pm
drop off boxes will be sent to Robert's Discount Pharmacy and Hoover Fitness today. They will have Bluffparkal.org logos on them.
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Re: Adopt-a-Soldier
Reply #12 - 09/05/10 at 8:51pm
Do the shampoos and other toiletries need to be a particular size or does it matter?
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Re: Adopt-a-Soldier
Reply #13 - 09/05/10 at 9:29pm
Quote from Abbey111 on 09/05/10 at 8:51pm:
Do the shampoos and other toiletries need to be a particular size or does it matter?

It doesn't matter.  We've sent all sizes, from the travel size to the big super size.  Weight is also not an issue since we will be shipping them in the flat rate USPS boxes.
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Re: Adopt-a-Soldier
Reply #14 - 09/08/10 at 4:12pm
Fox 6 will be doing a story on the Adopt-a-Soldier project on their 5pm newscast today.
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