Author: Jenifer Calandra

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.

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. 

Five Reasons Our New Spicy Snack Box is the Perfect Father’s Day Gift

Salute Your Military Dad with One of Our Gift Ideas for Service Members

Our newest snack box is forged in fire and will make your dad sweat bullets this Father’s Day! Spice up gift-giving for your Army, Navy, or Air Force dad with our Spicy Snack Box, now available at My Hero Crate!

All of dad’s favorite snacks are in this fire-breathing military care package, including Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, Taki’s Fuego, Lay’s Flamin’ Hot, Spicy Doritos, Planter’s Heat Peanuts, two bottles of Pepper Nectar Hot Sauce, and more. A total of 17 items will set your dad’s mouth ablaze — while My Hero Crate makes Father’s Day gift ideas no sweat! 

Here are five really great reasons our new Spicy Snack Box is the perfect Father’s Day gift!

The price of our Spicy Snack Box includes shipping.

Have you ever put tons of items in your cart on a small-business website only to realize that you’re being asked to pay a prohibitively-expensive shipping fee? That’s not the case at My Hero Crate. The prices of each of our military gift boxes include standard shipping, even to FPO, DPO, and APO addresses worldwide.

When you add our Spicy Snack Box to your cart, you know exactly how much your dad’s gift will cost you — and really, he’s worth it! 

The flavors in our new snack box are WILD!

You could give a bland gift this Father’s Day, like yet another tie or a #1 Dad coffee mug. Or, you could give a gift with some flavor and pizzazz. Our Spicy Snack Box has both, and comes packaged in our signature camo gift box, which is perfect on its own, or you can add your own wrapping paper. 

It’s a Father’s Day gift like none other.

We’re betting your dad has never received a box of impossibly spicy snacks as a Father’s Day gift before. In fact, we’d wager that he doesn’t know any other dads in his military unit who have received such a gift, either!

My Hero Crate specializes in unique gift ideas and simple gift-giving for military members, and our new Spicy Snack Box is no exception. Dad not into spicy stuff? Choose from our selection of other great Father’s Day gift ideas instead, like our Men’s R&R Gift Box or our Movie Night Snack Box

Our military snack boxes are useful and usable.

Sure, you could send Dad a gift during deployment that he has to haul around or set aside for safekeeping among his personal effects. Here’s hoping he has room! Or, you could send your dad a consumable gift that he’ll love and can share with his colleagues at his duty station. Our snack boxes, especially our Spicy Snack Box, are like that!

Your military dad’s gift is fully edible, meaning there’s nothing left to carry home at the end of deployment, and he can use it to make friends and bolster his meals, too.

Our snack boxes also are perfect for the dad who has everything. You’re never sure what to get him because he definitely already owns anything you’ve ever thought of to get him as a gift. Well, he may have eaten spicy snacks before, but no one can say no to more taste-bud blazin’ treats!

For every Spicy Snack Box you buy for your dad, we’ll donate to a veteran-backed non-profit organization.

Part of our mission at My Hero Crate is to make people smile and feel loved and happy. One way we do that is by donating a portion of the proceeds for every military care package we sell to a veteran organization. It’s our way of giving back to important people who protect our freedoms.

Send a Father’s Day Gift from My Hero Crate

Show dad how much you love him, whether he’s at home or deployed, by sending him our Spicy Snack Box. It’s easy to place your order. Just tell us where to send it — anywhere in the world — and we’ll make sure he gets it by Father’s Day. 

My Hero Crate Fundraises for India

As You Sent Military Care Packages to Your Heroes, We Donated to Covid Relief

We might be a military care package gift company, but above all, we’re a company that cares about people and what’s happening around the world. So, when we heard about the second wave of COVID-19 in India, we were ready to stand up and help.

Not only do we help you make your loved ones in the armed forces smile with our deployment care packagesandmilitary gift ideas, we also want to step in and do what we can for those in need around the world.

Our Military Gift Company’s Fundraiser Overview

To raise awareness of India’s coronavirus crisis, we shared information on our My Hero Crate social media posts. We asked our social media followers to like and share our post, and in exchange, we agreed to donate $1 per interaction. We did the same on social media for our sister companies: My College CrateandThe Care Crate Co.

When our fundraiser drive ended, we were pleased with the results!

Overall, My Hero Crate social media followers helped us donate $19 toward India’s COVID-19 relief through www.Covid.GiveIndia.org. Across all our care package brands, we were able to donate $122 just from our social media shares alone.

Thank YOU! 

If you are one of our valued social media followers who interacted with our post, we want to say thank you! Because of you, we donated some of our resources to this very important cause. 

And remember that you can make your military hero smile with an Air Force, Marine Corps, Navy, or Army care package from My Hero Crate.

What is the Difference Between Memorial Day and Veterans Day?

They Both Honor Military Members, But for Different Reasons

There are so many American holidays centered around patriotism and ways to thank military members for their service. Two of these days, Memorial Day and Veterans Day, are often easily confused or misunderstood altogether.

Both are Federal holidays. Both honor the military. But they’re actually quite different. You’ll want to understand the nuances of both before wishing your military hero a “Happy Memorial Day” or “Happy Veterans Day,” interchangeably. 

Memorial Day – the Last Monday in May – Honors Those Who Died During Their Military Service

Memorial Day got its start just after the Civil War, when people would leave floral arrangements on the graves of fallen soldiers. In 1866, Waterloo, New York, made this a formal ritual called “Decoration Day,”  because of its focus on decorating graves of soldiers.

In 1868, the first ever National Decoration Day took place at Arlington National Cemetery. By the late 1800s, people across the country were acknowledging the day. The holiday was renamed Memorial Day, because it is a day in memory of fallen military service members.

You can, of course, celebrate Memorial Day any way that you’d like, but it’s best to use the day to pay respects to our country’s heroes who lost their lives during their service. It may not be the best idea to give gifts for veterans or living military members on this day, however, as it is meant to honor past heroes.

Veterans Day – on November 11 – Honors All Military Members

Veterans Day is another Federal holiday focused on military members. Unlike Memorial Day, though, Veterans Day is a day to celebrate and be thankful for anyone who has served in the U.S. military. 

First observed in 1919 as Armistice Day – the first anniversary of the end of World War I – Congress made it a Federal holiday in 1938. President Eisenhower changed the name of the holiday to Veterans Day in 1954.

Veterans Day is the best holiday to send a gift for military members and veterans to thank them for their service. 

Gifts for Veterans and Military Members

To help your loved one celebrate Veterans Day, send them a military care package from My Hero Crate! Our one-time snack boxes or monthly subscription boxes are ideal gifts to bring good cheer and motivation to your loved one serving away from home. 

They’re also great gifts for veterans, who will remember the happiness and contentment they felt when they received care packages from home while they were deployed.

Order your military member gifts from My Hero Crate, and get free shipping anywhere in the U.S., and to any APO, FPO, or DPO mail box in the world. Best of all, we’ll make a donation to a non-profit, veteran-backed organization for each care package purchased!

Shop today to find the perfect military gift box for your hero, or sign them up for a monthly subscription box for armed forces members. 

May is Military Spouse Appreciation Month

Thank Them For Their Strength and Ability to Overcome Challenges with a Care Package from My Hero Crate

Military spouses are heroes in their own right. They hold down the household and take care of the children and pets while their military member loved ones are away. They move from location-to-location each time duty stations change, readjusting to life and meeting new friends out of necessity. And they endlessly support their enlisted spouses.

So it makes sense that the U.S. would dedicate a month to appreciating military spouses – affectionately called MilSpouses. How will you thank yours for all that they do? Here are a few ideas for celebrating!

A Day of Pampering

Anybody, and we mean anybody, would love a day at the spa to get a massage and pedicure. A massage will help your milspouse relax, but it also is really good for helping to heal body aches and pains. A pedicure doesn’t have to include colorful nail polish. It can be a rejuvenating experience and an opportunity to remove dry, callous build up and get a professional toenail trim. 

 

If a visit to the spa isn’t in the cards, order them a Women’s Relaxation Gift Set or Men’s R&R Gift Box from My Hero Crate.

 

Household Chore Takeover

If your MilSpouse spends their spare time keeping your home in top shape, give them a few days off from it by taking over the cleaning routine. Sweep, mop, dust, and scrub your heart out, while they put their feet up and enjoy their favorite television show. Or, save up spare change throughout the year to spring for a maid service for one month!

A break from keeping house provides the perfect time to enjoy a Mom’s Luxury Gift Set from My Hero Crate.

Chef for a Night

Don your “Kiss the Cook” apron and cook a special meal for your MilSpouse. Don’t forget to include an appetizer – perhaps a small charcuterie board to share – and a tasty dessert for later in the evening.

Supplement your charcuterie board or cheese board with some delicious crackers found in one of our signature military snack boxes. If you’ve received one as a gift, then you already have it in your house, ready for building out the perfect antipasto! 

Military Care Packages for Military Spouses

Sending your love goes both ways! If your spouse sent you care packages while you were deployed or temporarily away from your duty station, then you know how meaningful it was to receive such a gift that you could share with your friends and use as a reminder that someone back home loves you very much.

Return the favor by sending a gift box from My Hero Crate to your MilSpouse – even if you’re together at home. Receiving an unexpected gift in the mail will render them speechless and so, so thankful for how thoughtful you are.

Browse our full selection of military snack boxes or care package gift sets.

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