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Thanksgiving on Base

The Holidays Are Starting On Base

 

Military Life Between The Holidays

When you’re enlisted, you go where the military sends you. That isn’t even a rule, so much as a fact of life. Sometimes you get lucky, and you wind up getting a duty station relatively close to home, but just as likely you can wind up on the other side of the country, if not the other side of the planet. This can be really exciting sometimes. Being stationed far away from home is the perfect opportunity to expand your horizons. You can learn what people are like in other countries. You can try foods and restaurants you had never even considered before. You might even pick up a few words in a foreign language. All of that is fun. And then Thanksgiving starts inching closer.

 

Ain’t No Place Like Home

Even if you do have an opportunity to take leave for Christmas, and you don’t always have that opportunity, you probably won’t have enough leave days or money to go home for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. Especially if you’re lower-ranking, it can take just as much time to save leave days as it does to save up vacation money. And without time or money, you’ll be spending Thanksgiving on base. Often the base is hundreds or thousands of miles away from your family. It’s not even possible to drive home for a weekend away. That can be a depressing experience to deal with.

 

Bringing Home To You

However, it’s also a time that really highlights the camaraderie and culture of life on base. All around you, your fellow service members go out of their way to ensure everyone who lives there gets to celebrate the holiday. The cooks put in extra work to make sure every soldier can eat their favorites from home. Decorations are hung all over the dining facility to make it look as festive as possible. All of the base’s administrators work double-time to make sure no service member is forced to miss out on the joy of Thanksgiving.

 

A Day Of Gratitude

Officers don their dress uniforms and serve the soldiers. Good officers show their gratitude regularly, but Thanksgiving is probably the most sincere and human gesture of gratitude higher-ranking service members offer to lower-ranking members all year. They make speeches commemorating the soldiers’ hard work and dedication over the course of the year. 

 

Above & Beyond The Call Of Duty

The service members lucky enough to have their families living on or near the base go even further than that. Many of them invite fellow service members into their homes to join their family’s festivities. These soldiers, uncoerced and without obligation, open up their homes to ensure that none of their brothers and sisters in arms have to go without. Many young soldiers have found themselves embraced whole-heartedly by the families of their squad members. For many service members, Thanksgiving on base can be safer, more comfortable, and less stressful than the Thanksgiving they knew growing up. Everyone is given a seat at the table, both metaphorically and literally. All are welcome. All are loved. All are members of the family.

 

Ringing In The Season 

Being on the base over Thanksgiving is a challenging experience when the base is nowhere near your family. And the beautiful thing about that is that that is when everyone living on base works a little bit harder to make life better for everyone. It’s a phenomenal show of generosity that perfectly heralds in the Christmas season.

 

Thanksgiving Is For Gratitude

Our service members give up so much for us. They make phenomenal sacrifices for their fellow countrymen every day, but especially around the holidays. If you would like to show our men and women in the service how grateful you are for their service this Thanksgiving, My Hero Crate is happy to give a little bit of the holidays back to service members who can’t get home for Thanksgiving. Simply purchase a Thanksgiving Care Package to ensure that a service member can have a little taste of the holiday, no matter where they are in the world.

Happy Veterans Day!

Here are some ways to observe Veterans Day! 

November 11th is Veterans Day! There are many different ways to observe and celebrate Veterans Day. It only takes a few minutes out of the day to give thanks to military veterans both past and present so here are just a few ways to show your gratitude! 

 

In the Workplace

1. Hanging posters or flags- putting up posters and American flags around the office can be a great way to remind coworkers and employees how important this holiday is for so many. 

2. Hold a meal- hosting a workplace meal can be a great way to show support for military family members and veterans that are a part of your organization. Getting people together for a meal and discussing the importance of the holiday can also be a great educational tool for those who may not have personal experience with the military. 

3. Organize a moment of silence- adding a point in the day to have a moment of silence for veterans and other military members can help remind people in the workplace how important this holiday is for so many. 

 

In the Community

1. Donate food and clothes to veterans charities- help show your gratitude for those who have served as military members by donating to various veterans charities. Many of these charities will take canned/boxed food donations, clothing donations, and monetary donations. 

2. Attend a Veterans Day celebration- most communities and towns will host a celebration of some sort to commemorate veterans and their families. Attending these celebrations is a great way to connect with your personal community of veterans as well as show them gratitude for their service. 

3. Send a care package- creating or sending a care package to servicemembers overseas is a great way to show your appreciation for their service. We have plenty of gift sets and care packages available for you to send!

 

In the Household

1. Take the family to a VA Hospital- teaching your family about the importance of Veterans Day can be a highlight of the holiday. Taking the family to visit a VA hospital can be an incredibly educational experience for everyone and there will be plenty of helpful people willing to give out information. 

2. Fly the flag appropriately- there is a proper way to display the U.S. flag. Researching how to display it and going through the process together can be a great way for your household to show military support. 

3. Participate in the VA’s #BeThere campaign- this campaign was created as a way to remind military members and veterans that their community is there for them. If you know a veteran, be sure to do something kind for them on this day. You can make it a family affair by baking a treat for them or creating a card and delivering it all together. 

 

Veterans Day is a holiday dedicated to showing our veterans and military members just how grateful we are for their service. Send them a care package with us to show your gratitude! We have many different offers available, so check some out here

Volunteer Opportunities to Help Military Members

Plus, Say Thanks with an Armed Forces Care Package from My Hero Crate

You’ve seen military members make big sacrifices to our country, and you want to return the favor.

As a civilian with loved ones in the military, you probably already know of lots of opportunities locally to help out.

But if you don’t know anyone who could guide you to volunteer opportunities, then you might want to consider My Hero Crates five favorite ways to volunteer. Each requires a varying amount of resources and time, so you’re sure to find one that works for you.

 

Volunteer at VA Hospitals

Just like you’d see “candy stripers” at civilian hospitals, VA hospitals utilize volunteers. Hospital volunteers perform many tasks to help support medical staff and patients.

As a VA hospital volunteer, you might be asked to answer phone calls, direct visitors to the right hospital area, restock supplies, or deliver gifts to military patient rooms. You may even be asked to visit with hospitalized patients to keep them company. The ultimate goal is to free up time for medical staff to focus on providing patient care. 

 

Build Houses for Returning Disabled Troops

Homes for Our Troops is a nonprofit organization that builds houses for disabled servicepeople who served in Afghanistan and Iraq. They also adapt existing homes to accommodate those who served.

You can donate money or land, or help to build these homes if you have experience as a contractor, builder, or in other relevant trades.


Participate in a Letter-Writing Campaign

Operation Gratitude runs a letter-writing campaign in which anyone can write letters or short notes or send greeting cards to veterans and active military members to thank them for their service and connect with them.

It’s an especially wonderful opportunity if you have limited time or transportation resources, since you can participate from the comfort of your own home. And who doesn’t love receiving mail? At My Hero Crate, we know it better than most!

 

Employ Veterans in Your Business

Although not technically a volunteer opportunity, if you run your own business, you can become an employment partner with Hire Heroes USA to do your part.

Employment partners help veterans get jobs in their businesses after they receive job training. And if you, too, are a veteran, you can help provide that job training, assist with mock interviews, or provide career counseling to other veterans, using your experience working in your business.

 

Volunteer with the USO

Short for United Service Organization, the USO is vital in providing active service members through entertainment, military care packages, and transitional services.

When you volunteer with USO, you could do things like help organize special events, greet returning military members at homecomings, work the front desk at USO offices, and more. If you have special skills, the USO will find a place for you to help out locally.

 

Send a Military Care Package Today

Opportunities to volunteer to benefit our military members are numerous. 

But If you want to do something nice for your own loved one in the military, or you want to be sure your favorite veteran directly benefits from your actions, consider sending them a military care package from My Hero Crate.


Shop our full selection of snack boxes, holiday gifts, and themed care packages today, or subscribe to send a monthly gift to your loved one in the armed forces.

 

Reasons Why US Military Veterans Join the National Guard

Their Continued Contribution is Another Reason to Send Them a Military Care Package

When listing the branches of the US military, so many people overlook the National Guard. But with more than 440,000 members in the Army National Guard and Air National Guard, they’re worth remembering and honoring.

The National Guard provides opportunities for veterans to reenlist and continue serving their country with slightly less of a time commitment. For veterans considering joining the National Guard, there are many reasons they might do so.

At My Hero Crate, we offer Army care packages – and gifts for every branch of the military – and celebrate the service that National Guard members give to our country. As part of that, we acknowledge these reasons and more that veterans may want to join the Army National Guard or Air National Guard.

 

They’re Dedicated to Their Country

Veterans whose full-time military service has come to an end may want to continue their career in the military because they are dedicated to the mission and to their country.

The National Guard gives opportunities to veterans to continue serving the United States on a part-time basis, so they have plenty of time to pursue education, work in the civilian sector, and live with their families without being transferred from base to base.

 

They Thrive in the Structure

After spending years in the military, it can be hard to adjust to civilian life. Joining the National Guard feels very familiar and comfortable for them – while still giving them plenty of time to become acclimated to being civilians.

The National Guard also helps veterans ensure they stay healthy and in good shape even after they are discharged from the Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, Navy, or Army, plus gives them the structure they enjoy one weekend per month. 

 

They Receive Additional Benefits

National Guard members receive the same health insurance coverage as enlisted military members, plus education benefits, a salary, sign-on bonuses, and more. Guard members are paid for their training, weekend drills, and during any deployments.

Joining the National Guard offers a wonderful opportunity to not only serve the US again, but also to supplement full-time work and to build new skills in your MOS (job).

 

Their Skills and Experience Could Transfer Over

While enlisted full-time in the military, veterans learned skills and gained experiences that are invaluable. And the National Guard gives them the chance to put those to good use.

In fact, the National Guard takes into account previous rank, job, and experience. That means veterans already have a leg-up when joining, and some may not even need to complete basic training again. 

 

Celebrate Your Guardsman with a Military Care Package

The National Guard may not seem as demanding as other branches of the US military, but that doesn’t mean National Guard members aren’t as deserving of our care and thanks.

 

Your loved one in the National Guard would love to receive one of our military care packages every month through our military gift subscription service, or a one-time holiday surprise for Halloween or any other upcoming holiday. Shop now to give thanks.

5 Ways to Reduce Stress Outside of Military Life

Find Your Preferred Strategies to Promote Good Mental Health

 

Serving in the Armed Forces can be stressful, but it’s a different kind of stress from civilian life. While you’re home from deployment or after your active duty ends, you may have to find new strategies to cope with stress and reduce its effects.

Military spouses and families, too, must work to keep stress at bay.

And while stress is a permanent part of life, how you choose to deal with it can make it much easier to handle. Why not try one of these five strategies? 

 

And if you know someone feeling excessively stressed, offer an ear to listen and a shoulder to lean on – and one of our fantastic stress-reducing military care packages.

Take One Thing at a Time

When you’re planning your own day-to-day activities, such as creating a to-do list or planning a big move or home remodel, don’t overwhelm yourself with tasks.

For example, if you’re planning a move, don’t worry about gathering boxes to pack in until after you have secured your moving van. And don’t fret about cleaning your rental apartment until after the majority of your belongings are packed. And don’t dwell on having to unpack when you’re not even in your new home yet!

Similarly, if you’re doing some light remodeling in your home, take it one step at a time rather than having multiple projects going on at once. Finish painting the walls before you opt to paint kitchen cabinets, or finish upgrading the floor before you think about hanging artwork on the walls.

 

If you put too much on your plate all at once, it’s hard to get it done. Focusing on one thing at a time can be a big help in keeping mass amounts of stress at bay.

Write It Down, Put It in Your Phone, or Ask Alexa to Remind You

If your ability to remember appointments is catastrophic at best, find a way that works for you to keep a schedule. When you know you are running late or completely forgot about an important event, it adds stress to your life and can encourage negative self-talk, like “I’m always late; I’m such a terrible friend!” or “I can never remember things because I’m such a flake!”

In truth, if you find a way that works for you to remind yourself of what you need to do, you will feel far less stress about planning your day. And not every scheduling tool works for everyone. Get creative with it! We especially love using sticky notes on the bathroom mirror or relying on a virtual assistant like Alexa or Siri to remind us when it’s time to get moving!

 

Take a Break!

While military members are deployed, you don’t really have the choice to take an unscheduled, unsanctioned break. But when you’re back home, sporting your civvies and running full tilt to get everything done, you can absolutely sit down and rest for a minute or two!

If a certain task is stressing you out, stop and come back to it later. If you’re starting to feel too tired to press on, grab a glass of water and take a breather.

There’s no point in pressing yourself to your limit, especially when it comes to stressful situations. If it’s feasible to take a break, do it, so your mind and body are refreshed and ready to tackle the next problem that comes your way.

 

Move Your Muscles During a Mindfulness-Intense Workout

Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps members are no strangers to exercise. But running and serious tests of physical endurance and strength don’t really promote mindfulness; they promote focus on finishing.

In your free time, invest a few minutes into a stress-reducing exercise like yoga or pilates, which have you pay attention to breathing and the movement of individual muscles in your body. Practicing mindfulness – focusing on your body and the environment in the moment without judgment – can help drop stress levels significantly.

 

Step Away from the Smartphone

In today’s world, everyone is so connected by electronics and social media that it’s hard to actually get time to yourself. Your smartphone is always buzzing with notifications from an app or a text message.

If you’re already feeling stressed, these notifications can get your heart racing! It may behoove you to turn your phone on silent and leave it in another room so you can focus on whatever you need, whether that’s some R&R and self-care, or a specific task or errand you need to complete.

You Can Help Your Friends by Sending Them Special Military Care Packages!

If your pals always look to you for advice on stress relief, then you might consider sharing your best tips and sending them a special gift to help bestow a sense of peace for them.

My Hero Crate offers a whole host of care packages for enlisted military members that save you the time of scouring your local store, finding suitable packaging, and heading to the post office. Instead, we’ll handle all the details of sending them a thoughtful gift; you tell us what your gift message should say!

 

Our gift sets for military moms, armed forces coffee lovers, and deployed soldiers who just need snacks that taste like home, ship to anywhere in the world. Talk about less stress for you and your care package recipient! 

 

Start shopping today to find the perfect stress-reducing gift for your loved one in the military

How Does Mindfulness Meditation Work?

Try It Out the Next Time You Receive an Armed Forces Gift Box

Mindfulness is rooted in a Buddhist concept from about 2,600 years ago and has only recently found popularity in today’s psychotherapy world. While very few studies strongly support the benefits of mindfulness, those who practice it say it has helped their tolerance, concentration, mental clarity, and kindness toward oneself.

Proponents of mindfulness say that its related meditation technique can help former military members cope with the emotional and mental health ramifications of enlistment, deployment, and war. It’s easy to practice, with no requirements for equipment. You truly need only your mind.

What is Mindfulness?

The American Psychological Association defines mindfulness as “a psychological state of awareness,” but more specifically, “a moment-to-moment awareness of one’s experience without judgment.”

In simplest terms, when you practice mindfulness, you simply focus your awareness on what you’re sensing and feeling in the moment, without interpreting or judging. During mindfulness, you can practice relaxing breathing techniques or use guided imagery. Researchers believe that mindfulness meditation can help practitioners decrease rumination — dwelling on negative thoughts or ideas — help regulate emotions, and reduce stress. 

How Can I Practice Mindfulness?

Mindfulness practitioners use a variety of methods, the easiest of which you can do during normal daily activities!

Start by simply paying attention. Slow down and notice things with all five of your senses. Focusing on your breathing also can help you process negative thoughts and relax.

Try practicing mindfulness while eating a snack from your military care package from My Hero Crate. Open your favorite treat, and take your first bite. Hold the bite in your mouth and pay attention first to how it tastes. Focus all your attention on it.

Then, start to notice the texture. Move your tongue over it.

Bite into it. How does the crunch or other sensation feel against your teeth? Notice whether the texture changes. Feel the temperature of the food.

Return to focusing on the flavor. Don’t try to identify what the flavor is; simply notice it.

Repeat the process with each bite, for as long as you’d like.

How Often Should I Practice Mindfulness?

You can practice mindfulness any time, anywhere you wish, especially simple types of meditation like mindfully eating.

The more often you practice mindfulness, the more naturally it will come to you. Set aside time every day. It’s a valid form of self care that takes little resources, so it’s a great addition to your mental health care program. 

Try Mindfulness Techniques As You Open Your Monthly Military Gift Box Subscription

Now that you know how to practice mindful eating, you can apply mindfulness techniques to other activities. As you open your monthly military care package subscription, find ways to practice mindfulness with each item.

Over time, you just might notice a change in how you feel — hopefully for the better.

Learn more about our monthly care package subscription, and be sure to thank your loved one who sends you these military gifts!

How to Celebrate July 4th While Deployed

Start Dropping Hints to Your Family to Send a Military Care Package from My Hero Crate

Independence Day is the penultimate American holiday and celebration of our freedoms. But when you’re deployed over July 4th, you and your buddies have to find unique ways to celebrate outside the United States.

If your station doesn’t have something planned for you, like a USO show, or special meal, make it your personal mission to turn what would be an average day into an exciting one, full of all-American treats and pastimes.

Consider these ideas to kick off your brainstorm.

Make a Playlist of Patriotic Songs

You have the technology, so put it to work. Create a playlist full of classic American favorites and let them play on shuffle on July 4. Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA,” the iconic “Stars and Stripes Forever” march, and “America the Beautiful” are three tunes that come to mind.

Not sure which songs to include? Gather a few buddies to build out the playlist. Their input could help you put together the soundtrack to a memorable Independence Day.

Play a Pick-up Game of Your Favorite American Sport

There’s nothing more American than football or baseball. Pay tribute to the United States with an exciting game of two-hand touch football or go six innings of baseball with your unit.

Pick team captains to select their teams, map out your playing field, and recruit someone to serve as the umpire or referee. Assemble a trophy out of odds and ends and present it to the winning team during an elaborate ceremony at the end of the game.

Host a Patriotic Open Mic Night

While you might not have a microphone on hand, gather your unit and ask people to share their favorite song or poem, or put together skits to celebrate July 4.

Recite the preamble to the Constitution. Play acoustic guitar and have everyone sing along to American music hits. When everyone is involved, no one ends up in the spotlight, and you can all share a beautiful holiday together.

Reminisce

If you are unable to help put together an activity to celebrate Independence Day while deployed, take a moment during down time to ask your buddies about their favorite July 4th memories. Maybe they used to attend a fireworks show with their family, or the aunt always brought a tasty potato salad to the cookout.

Sharing these memories can help you feel closer to your loved ones when they’re so far away.

Write a Letter

If you’re going to be away from your loved ones over July 4th, sit down to write a letter to them and mail it in advance of the holiday. In your letter, describe your plans for the day, or talk about times you’ll always remember from past Independence Day celebrations.

If you have kids, send them a drawing for once. Sketch out your family spending time together for the holiday, complete with fireworks, BBQ, and hugs. Your artwork will become something they treasure until they get to see you again.

Share Your Military Care Package

Did your family send you an armed forces monthly care package for July? Share your spoils with a few friends to make the day special. Sit down for a board game, munch on tasty snacks together, and generally spread joy. 

We Deliver Monthly Military Care Packages Around the World!

If you’re a lucky military member who gets hero care packages from My Hero Crate, or if you’re the thoughtful family member who sends them, then take the opportunity to spread the word about us to other families with soldiers and other military members who are deployed around the world.

Standard shipping is always free to APO, DPO, and FPO mailing addresses, and we make sure our monthly subscription boxes contain new and unique items to help pass the time and enrich the days. It’s like sending your love in our signature green box. 

Share this link with other loved ones in the military to help them spread joy with conveniently pre-packaged gift boxes for their heroes.

Military Member Must-Haves Giveaway

Enter to Win a Single Subscription Box

Is there an item your military hero can't live without? Let us know some of their must-haves and you could win the My Hero Crate October Subscription Box featuring their essential item.

How to Enter

COMMENT

on a Facebook or Instagram contest post telling us your military member's must-have item

TAG

three friends in your comment

No Purchase Necessary. Must be 18 Years or Older to Enter. Must Live in the United States. The Military Member Must-Haves Giveaway hosted by My Hero Crate is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with Facebook or Instagram. The contest begins 7/1/2021 12A EST and ends on 9/30/2021 12A EST. The winner will be drawn within 7 days of content ending and announced VIA a Facebook or Instagram message. 

Our Military Care Package Company’s Donations to the Greater Cleveland Food Bank

We Also Donate to Veteran-Backed Organizations Every Month!

My Hero Crate was founded to help military families share love and care with their loved ones stationed far from home. We wanted to find unique ways to bring joy, simply because we care about other people.

One way we do this every month is to donate a portion of our proceeds to a veteran-backed organization each month. But we’ve found that, as a care package company, we can do even more to help local families. Part of our mission of caring is to do great work in our local community of Cleveland, Ohio, and beyond. We want to help our city and surrounding areas as best as we can with what we have.

Although our founders and team may not personally experience food insecurity, we learned that many people worldwide do, and don’t know where their next meal may come from. In the area that the Greater Cleveland Food Bank serves, 1 in 5 people experience food insecurity. Last year alone, the food bank served 404,000 people in northeast Ohio, providing almost 57 million pounds of food.

We realized we, too, could help provide relief to those who were struggling by supporting our local food bank here in Cleveland and other nonprofits on similar missions. That’s why we choose to donate time, money, and food as often as we can.

2021 Donations of Our Armed Forces Care Packages and Military Snack Boxes

So far this year, we’ve donated time, money, and food to our philanthropy beneficiaries. Most notably, we’ve assembled and given away military snack boxes to those in need, including to civilians in our local area.

In total, My Hero Crate. has donated the equivalent of 76 food care packages and gift sets to a variety of organizations, like the Greater Cleveland Food Bank. Across all three of our sister organizations, we’ve donated a total of 337 snack boxes and care packages.

For My Hero Crate, our most-often donated care package was the Military Microwave Care Package, which contains quick, nonperishable entree options for all three meals of the day, which could be easily supplemented with fresh, nutritious produce from the local food bank. This care package also contains delicious snack items, because everyone deserves an indulgence, too! 

What Comes Next for Military Care Package Donations?

The year isn’t done yet, and we can’t wait to see the unique opportunities we’ll have to continue our mission of helping those in need, both military members and civilians alike.

During the Pandemic, We Donated Care Packages to Deserving People

Sweet Treats, Healthy Snacks, and Easy Meals Made Life a Little Easier

While My Hero Crate and our sister companies are experts in creating delicious care packages, yummy snack boxes, and fun gift boxes for military service members and everyone else you know, we also make sure we’re doing our part to help improve the lives of the people in our community and around our country.

During the pandemic, we fulfilled several requests for care package donations so that we could serve in the best way we know: bringing joy through special snack boxes. Here’s the impact we made this past year with care packages assembled and sent with love.

Snack Boxes to Fill Pantries

Our sister company, The Care Crate Co., was asked on three occasions during the pandemic to donate food care packages to families facing COVID-related financial difficulties.

Our food packages, like the one filled with microwaveable meals, helped them stay nourished while staying at home during the early days of the pandemic.

Giving Away Personal Care Kits

During stay-at-home orders, we used social media to give away care packages with personal care items. Our easy-to-enter giveaway contests gave recipients another reason to smile.

We donated a total of 36 care packages, which included delicious snacks, first aid kits, cleansing wipes, and protective face masks.

Sweet Care Packages for Kid VIPs

If you were admitted to the hospital or moved into other protective housing during the pandemic, you weren’t able to have as many visitors, which means you’d need things to brighten your day. This was especially true for kids!

We donated eight cases of candy care packages to young cancer patients and residents of a children’s home. While we know our care packages aren’t necessarily life-changing, we are thrilled we brought happiness to our recipients. 

Have a Good Cause?

My Hero Crate is always looking for unique causes to donate some of our care packages. Contact us to tell us about the organization you think deserves free care packages sent to their door. 

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