Category: Deployment

We Salute You on the National Day of the Deployed

Observe the Day by Sending a Military Care Package

On October 26, the military acknowledges the National Day of the Deployed, a day to thank all military serving outside the U.S., and their families who hold down the fort back home.

Soldiers don’t get to choose their deployment locations or durations. They sacrifice their own freedoms as they work to defend the United States and its allies overseas – which is why we think deployed troops are pretty deserving of recognition on this day, and all the rest.

How the Day Got Its Start

The first National Day of the Deployed was acknowledged in 2006. Shelle Michaels Aberle approached John Hoeven, governor of her state of North Dakota, to request a proclamation for a day to honor the military members actively serving outside the confines of the country. Hoeven thought it was a great idea, so he issued a formal proclamation to declare October 26 as National Day of the Deployed. The date is special; it was the birthday of Aberle’s cousin, who was actively serving in Iraq when the idea came to her.

In 2011, Hoeven was elected a state senator and sponsored a resolution to designate the day across the country. The resolution passed unanimously, and today, all 50 states observe the holiday. Although it isn’t a federal holiday, in which banks and schools close, it is still an important one to us at My Hero Crate. Why? It’s literally our job to make sure America’s troops get the thanks they deserve!

How You Can Celebrate

The National Day of the Deployed is more of a symbolic holiday than one that calls for elaborate celebration and camaraderie – although if you want to celebrate it like that, we’d love to be invited! Simpler ways you can join in on acknowledging the importance of the day include:

-Posting on social media, thanking our deployed troops for their service, and explaining the importance of the day. If you have a loved one who is deployed, include their photo in your post so your friends and followers can put a face to the day. This will help create an emotional connection, which may encourage others to celebrate the day, too, even if they don’t know anyone currently deployed.

 

-Volunteer with an organization that benefits deployed soldiers. There’s always something you can do to brighten the days of our soldiers working and living abroad. Some nonprofit agencies assemble care packages to send to deployed troops, while others organize letter-writing campaigns to send them well-wishes. If either of these sound like fun to you, do a bit of quick internet research to find an organization near you.

 

Send your deployed military hero a care package or two. They can keep the treats for themselves, or share with the rest of their unit. Because shipping from My Hero Crate is always free to DPO, FPO, and APO addresses, even those overseas, it’s an affordable way to connect with your loved ones without having to find the contents of a snack box or gift box on your own. Also, all our snacks are from American distributors, and we’re an American company, based in Ohio. Our dedication to our country is obvious – and we want to help you celebrate your favorite hero.

How to Order a Military Care Package

My Hero Crate makes it easy to send a gift to your deployed soldier overseas. Follow these simple steps:

1. Visit MyHeroCrate.com. Click “Shop” in the top menu.

2. Choose the care package you think your deployed soldier will love the most. We even have snack boxes for special dietary needs, and gift boxes designed to inspire relaxation in our deployed heroes.

3. Once you find the package you like, select whether you’d like to send a one-time gift, or keep ‘em coming month after month by subscribing. Your soldier will get a brand-new snack box, thanks to AutoPay, so you never have to remember to schedule a delivery.

4. Check out! Just like you’d check out on any website, My Hero Crate makes it easy to pay, and to tell us exactly where to send your special gift. You can even include a custom gift message to send well-wishes to your love done.

It really is as easy as that! Start shopping today, so your gift arrives by the National Day of the Deployed on October 26.

New Military Gift Boxes for Your Heroes!

Encourage Your Loved Ones to Take Time for Themselves on Base or at Home

It seems like our world is getting busier, despite the fact that we’re staying at home more. Soldiers on military bases continue to work their jobs, while staying in peak physical condition, and keeping connected to loved ones far away. It is this that inspired My Hero Crate to develop two brand-new military gift boxes to promote rest and relaxation. Let’s take a look at what’s in these crates, so you can place your order ASAP for a special autumn surprise.

What’s in the Men’s R&R Gift Box?

gift box for himBased on the concept of rest and relaxation, this men’s box makes your soldier’s free time both tasty and soothing. Inside each box, your loved one will find:

Gourmet Food and Drink-Themed Items

-Bacon Cheese Dip

-Bottle of gourmet hot sauce

-Wine corkscrew

-Cocktail mixer set

Grooming Items

-Beard oil

-Precision Groomer

-Dolce & Gabbana sample-size cologne

-Luxe shave cream

Restful Items

-Cigar cutter

-Drink coaster

Imagine your hero enjoying a night off in his easy chair, snacking on bacon cheese dip with his favorite crackers, enjoying a small cocktail and cigar, or primping for a fun night out with friends – or with you. That’s leisure time well-spent!

Order the Men’s R&R Gift Box Now

What’s in the Women’s Relaxation Gift Box?

gift box for herStereotypically, women neglect self care in favor of nurturing others. Our special gift box full of spa and beauty items give her everything she needs to devote a day to herself and come out on the other side feeling great.

Mani-Pedi Supplies

-Manicure set
-Pedicure callus remover

Squeaky Clean Must-Haves

-Premium facial soap

-Facial cleansing pads

-Bath bomb

-Loofah

-Beach Bum soap

Beauty Necessities

-EOS lip balm

-Dual-sided tweezer

-EOS shea butter hand cream

-Sheet masks

Even if your hero doesn’t have an entire day to devote to beauty, she’ll enjoy sparing a few moments every day to feel special with the contents of this thoughtful gift box.

Order the Women’s Relaxation Gift Box Now

Why Choose My Hero Crate

My Hero Crate is an American company that assembles gift boxes full of all-American snack and gift items to acknowledge the efforts and dedication American soldiers in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, and National Guard give to our country every day.

Delivery to APO, DPO, and FPO addresses is always free, even overseas. My Hero Crate is proud of our troops, and this is how we serve them. Let us help you say “thank you,” no matter where your hero is stationed, with one of our specialty care packages or snack gift boxes

What’s in an MRE?

We Send Snacks, Ready to Eat in a Military Care Package to Your Hero

Your deployed hero might have called them “Meals Rejected by Everyone” or “Meals Rarely Edible.” Yes, we’re talking about the humble MRE, which actually stands for “Meal Ready to Eat.” And while we don’t include MREs in our military snack boxes, we do think they’re pretty fascinating, not only for the macronutrients that pack, but also for the science that has gone into developing them.

MRE Nutrition

MREs are self-contained, individual rations for service members in combat or conditions where a food facility isn’t available. MREs do not need a dedicated kitchen space to be prepared, or even a table. They don’t need to be refrigerated, and they’re lightweight.

Amazingly, each MRE provides about 1,250 calories. Why so much? Because service members who must eat MREs are burning more than 4,000 calories per day, according to the Institute of Medicine. The macronutrient breakdown is:

  • -13% protein
  • -36% fat
  • -53% carbohydrates

These proportions make for a filling meal, three times per day, with no nutritional need for snacks to supplement them. (But that doesn’t mean a military snack box won’t be appreciated and consumed!)

MRE Contents

Every MRE includes a flameless ration heater, which, when activated, brings the food to the temperature you’d expect for a hot meal. Instructions with the MRE explain how to pour water into the heater and insert the food packet into it. 

Most meals come only with a plastic spoon and no other utensils. Rarely do they come with a full set, though it isn’t unheard of. This means most MREs can be easily eaten using only a single utensil. We dare you to try it at home.

Inside, your soldier will find what is called an “accessory pack,” which contains things like chewing gum, a matchbook, napkin or toilet paper, a moist towelette, and extra seasons. Every MRE also comes with a powdered beverage, like instant coffee, a fruit drink, cocoa, a sport drink, or even a dairy-based shake. 

Food-wise, there’s quite a lot inside: the main course, a side dish, a dessert or snack, crackers or bread, and a spread (usually cheese, jam, or peanut butter). Candy is also quite common. 

Sample Menus

We know they aren’t quite like home-cooking, but we can’t help but to feel a little hungry reading these three sample MRE menus, courtesy of GoArmy.com.

Chili w/ Beans

Mexican-style corn

Crackers and jam

Dairy shake

Candy

Red pepper seasoning

Flameless heater
Hot beverage bag

Veggie Burger in BBQ Sauce
Dried fruit
Chocolate banana muffin top
Wheat snack bread
Gum
Hot sauce
Lemon Tea
Flameless heater
Hot beverage bag
Chicken Fajita Tortilla
Chocolate pudding
Baked snack crackers
Cheese spread
Seasoning Blend
Coffee, Irish Cream flavor
Flameless heater
Hot beverage bag 

Fun MRE Facts

When you’re in the field, you can’t be picky about your food. MREs are the perfect solution, but they’re also actually pretty darn cool. For example:

 

  • -MREs are capable of withstanding parachute drops of 1,250 feet, and non-parachute drops of 100 feet. 
  • -Their shelf life is 3.5 years at 80 degrees Fahrenheit, or nine months at 100 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  • -The Department of Defense continues to develop upgrades to MREs, such as the “Beverage Bag,” introduced in 2006, a period of time when hydration bladders were more commonly used than metal canteens. The bags include measuring marks to indicate how much water to add to powdered drink mixes, and, for coffee, can be heated inside the flameless heater provided in the meal.  
  • -In 2005, writers for Airman, an Air Force magazine, taste-tested every variety of MRE in one sitting, and ranked them based on how good they tasted. Two of the most popular were the Beef Roast with Vegetables and the Pork Rib with New England Style Clam Chowder. 

A Military Snack Box that Far Exceeds MRE Quality

Want to make up for your hero’s stint eating MREs cooked with a flameless heater? Or just want to say “thank you,” or “I love you,” or “I miss you,” or “Happy Birthday!,” or literally any other sentiment you can think of? We got you! The military care package experts here at My Hero Crate create and assemble the best armed forces snack boxes and send them to the recipient of your choice, no matter what branch of the military they’re in. Shipping is free, and yes — we even ship overseas!

Learn more about our military snack boxes, and place your order today

How to Talk About Suicide

Ways You Can Help Your Hero in Need

My Hero Crate has made it our mission to improve the lives of veterans. Our method is to build military care packages for every branch of the armed forces and to ship them anywhere in the world, wherever your hero is living. We also support nonprofit, veteran-focused organizations because we put our money where our mouth is.

We are not experts in mental health or military suicides. We aren’t trained psychiatrists with an in-depth knowledge of how the brain works. But we do care a whole lot. And that’s why this month, National Suicide Prevention Month, we wanted to share with you some of the research we found about helping military veterans access the care they need, should they ever experience suicidal ideation. If this blog post helps even one veteran and the people that care about them get through a difficult time, then writing it will have been worth it. 

A Long History of Veteran Suicide

It is more than unfortunate that United States military veteran suicide has been a phenomenon for decades; the very first suicide prevention center opened in 1958 because of the prolific number of veteran suicides. In the years since, the U.S. and Veterans Affairs have taken steps to reduce rates of suicide by establishing additional mental health resources and legislation. It is difficult, however, to fix the root cause of the problem.

According to a report published by the VA in 2016, an average of 20 veterans die from suicide each day. Further analysis of the VA study shows that the rate varies by age group. Sixty-nine percent of suicides involved veterans 50 and older, whereas 31 percent involved younger veterans. Ninety-seven percent of victims were male.

The cause? It’s not precise, but the majority of veterans who commit suicide reportedly struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and combat-related guilt. Transitioning back to civilian life can also be quite difficult, especially after years in the military. 

Risk Factors for Veteran Suicide

The National Center for Veterans Studies at the University of Utah and the VA both say there are risk factors that increase the likelihood of military veterans experiencing suicidal ideation:

  • -Feelings of depression or hopelessness
  • -PTSD and/or a history of trauma
  • -Access to firearms
  • -Combat experience and combat-related guilt (although combat doesn’t always play a primary role in suicidal ideation); severe combat conditions
  • -Lengthy or frequent deployments, or longer times at war
  • -Location of deployment
  • -Branch of military
  • -Lower level of education
  • -Divorce soon after the end of deployment
  • -Sustaining life-altering injuries
  • -Brain/head trauma
  • -Witnessing traumatic events, such as their fellow soldiers being killed 
  • -Military structure and re-acclimating to civilian life

Suicide Warning Signs to Watch For

It’s difficult to predict when someone may be considering suicide, especially if they tend to hide their emotions. However, there is a set of common warning signs you can watch for as you interact with your hero at home, over the phone, or via mail.

  • -They make statements about suicide, such as “I wish I were dead,” or, more specifically, “I’m going to kill myself.” 
  • -They withdraw from social contact, including their friends and other family members.
  • -They seem preoccupied with death and dying, or violence.
  • -Their personalities may change, or they may have severe mood swings.
  • -They participate in risky behaviors, including using drugs, abusing alcohol, or driving recklessly.
  • -They express that they feel trapped or hopeless.
  • -They say goodbye to people as though they’ll never see them again.
  • -They change their normal routine, including when and how often they eat or sleep.
  • -They give away their belongings or “get their affairs in order.”
  • -They have acquired means to commit suicide, including purchasing a gun, accessing pills, etc. 

How to Start the Conversation with Your Hero

Don’t worry that if you ask your hero about suicidal thoughts or feelings, you push them into actually doing it. Giving them a chance to express their feelings can actually reduce their risk of acting on them. To do so, you can start your one-on-one conversation by asking some sensitive questions, like:

  • -How are you coping with what has happened in your life?
  • -How are you feeling about everything that has happened with you?

You should also ask some direct questions, like:

  • -Are you thinking about hurting yourself? 
  • -Are you thinking about suicide?
  • -Are you thinking about dying?

Your questions can continue to delve into more detail, like:

  • -Have you ever thought about suicide before?
  • -Have you ever tried to hurt yourself before?
  • -Have you thought about how or when you’d do it?
  • -Do you have access to weapons, or other things you could use to hurt yourself?

What Not to Say

Most suicidologists agree that committing suicide isn’t a decision. In an essay by Gerben Meynen, a professor of forensic psychiatry at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, he argues that “having a mental disorder takes away a person’s ability to choose alternatives.”

In fact, until the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), “loss of freedom” was listed as a component of mental illness. This description has now been updated to an “impairment in one or more important areas of functioning,” which is said to include “one or more losses of freedom.” 

It makes sense, then, that talking about suicide in a way that insinuates it is your hero’s choice would not be productive, and would instead shame them for their struggle. Never refer to committing suicide as selfish, stupid, cowardly or weak, a choice, or a sin, regardless of your personal beliefs.

You should also avoid “making it about you.” It is likely your hero has already thought about the repercussions of suicide and how it may affect their loved ones, but still views it as the only escape from their feelings.

What You Should Do

If your hero is considering suicide, you can help them get the resources they need. You can encourage them to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, and offer to sit with them as they make the call. To access responders with experience helping veterans, your hero should press “1” at the prompt. If they prefer to text with a responder at the Lifeline, they can send a message to 838255.

Help them locate the phone number for their doctor at the VA to get access to the VA Mental Health program and VA Suicide Prevention program. There are so many non-profit organizations dedicated to veterans’ mental health — just like the ones we donate to with the proceeds from each of our military care packages. You can learn more about them at veteranscrisisline.net. 

Be supportive. Express your love for them, and your concern. 

A Heartfelt Sign-Off from Your Favorite Military Care Package Experts

Your personal military hero is also ours. It is our sincere hope that you and your veteran will learn to stave off the thoughts of suicide while living your best possible lives together.

Why Human Connection is Important

A Care Package from My Hero Crate Can Help Provide It

Humans are social creatures. Sociologists and archaeologists have uncovered proof that even ancient humans lived together, hunted together, and enjoyed social activities. These preferences for socialization are thoroughly ingrained in our daily lives. They provide us with parts of our identity and teach us skills to lead successful lives. Having human connection is so vitally important, and for many reasons.

Joining the military can feel isolating, especially as deployments put unimaginable physical distance between soldiers and their families and other loved ones. Thankfully, part of being in the American armed forces is the camaraderie and team spirit among military branches and units. Discharging from the military, then, can be quite difficult, as veterans are forced back into the civilian world among people who don’t fully understand their experiences. 

So, how can armed services members and veterans still get the valuable human connections and understanding they need when faced with a sense of isolation? And what does human connection look like? This month, My Hero Crate explores this important topic.

Perception of Human Connection

Depending on the environment you grew up in, your personal preferences, and your mental state, human connection may look different to you than it does to others. Data from university research shows that simply having access to a supportive person is sufficient to help someone adapt to stress — including stress of a new lifestyle. 

In this case, there is no physical, ongoing human connection, but just the knowledge that it is available. Sometimes, people who are particularly independent need only this to feel connected. However, other people require more intensive interaction to feel a sense of belonging and safety. Human connection looks different to everyone.

The Benefits of Belonging

Having a support system and feeling a sense of belonging is not only necessary to human development, but it also helps our health.

The lack of human connection has been shown to be more harmful to your health than obesity, smoking, and high blood pressure individually. Connections also can relieve feelings of anxiety and depression and help us regulate emotions. When we feel a sense of belonging or that people care about us, we tend to have higher self-esteem. People who feel they have strong support systems, including friends and family, tend to have stronger immune systems, too!

Human connection can also help you live longer. A review of 148 separate scientific studies with more than 300,000 participants shows that those with stronger social relationships had a 50 percent increased likelihood of lengthier survival times. These results remained true across a number of factors, including age, initial health status, and cause of death.

Social connectivity and a sense of belonging also decrease the risk of suicide. Although quite a few factors lower the risk of suicide, one of these is connectedness. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, connectedness is, “the degree to which a person or group is socially close, interrelated or shares resources with other persons or groups.”

Healthy relationships, friendships, and close family ties are proven to reduce the risk of suicide. This connection, then, is especially important for a demographic like military veterans, of whom 22 die of suicide per day and up to 30 percent suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Getting the Connection

So how can military veterans or current personnel get the most from their opportunities for human connection? Here are a few ways you may find appealing:

-Support groups for veterans

-Volunteer opportunities for a cause you support

-Living near or with a family member or other loved one

-Weekly family dinners if you live separately

-Participating in therapy with a counselor or in a group session

-Joining a club or enrolling in a continuing education class

-Working a job with supportive coworkers and bosses

-Choosing a hobby that requires interaction with others

Show Your Support and Caring with a Military Snack Box

For family members who are far away from their loved ones in the military, showing your support can help remind your favorite soldier that you’re there for them. My Hero Crate’s military care packages can help you do that. Select a care package of your choice, and we’ll send it to your hero, no matter where they’re stationed.

Order a care package today to stay connected to your hero.

Fun Games to Play via the Mail

Add an Element of Fun to your Letters

If your favorite member of the military is deployed overseas or away at basic combat training, your interactions are limited to short phone calls and heartfelt letters sent in the mail. It’s sometimes hard to come up with motivating and inspiring words to share in your notes when you’re missing your soldier or soldier-in-training and wish they were back home with you.

The fact is, no matter what you say in your letters, no matter how mundane the topic of conversation is, your soldier treasures your handwritten mail because it’s a connection to you — a fiancée, parent, sibling, or dear friend.

Liven up your weekly letters by adding a quick, paper-based game on a sticky note or index card. Play your first turn, and mail it to your soldier. They’ll play their turn, and send it back to you with their next letter, continuing until the game is complete. Here are a few games you can play via the United States Postal Service!

Tic Tac Toe

This classic game doesn’t need explaining; everyone knows how to play! Draw up your nine-sectioned game board, and decide who will be Xs and who will be Os — and write it on your note so no one forgets! Who will win this game of strategy? You’ll soon find out!

Dots and Boxes

For a longer-term pencil-and-paper game, draw up an empty grid of dots in the desired size. Take turns adding a single horizontal or vertical line between two unjoined, adjacent dots — no diagonals allowed! The player who completes the fourth side of a box earns a point and writes their initial inside the box before taking another turn. The game is over when every box is claimed. The person with the most completed boxes wins.

Hangman

Come up with a word or short phrase, but keep it a secret! Instead, draw lines with spaces between to represent each letter. Your loved one can take guesses as to which letters fit into the words, Wheel of Fortune style, without the spinning! If they get a letter right, write it into the space. If the letter is wrong, add a component to a hangman drawing. If you don’t like the idea of drawing a hangman, your drawing can be anything — a dog, cat, boat, car, or anything else you prefer, to keep the game light.

Sprouts

Draw several dots in a random pattern on your sheet of paper. We recommend starting with four or five, but you can play with as few as two. Each player will take turns drawing a line between two dots (or a dot back to itself) and adding a new spot somewhere along the line. The lines can be straight or curved, but can never touch or cross a line. The new dot a player adds cannot be placed on an existing endpoint, and no spot can have more than three lines attached to it. The game is over when a player is the last to draw a line that follows these rules. Like Dots and Boxes, this game is rooted in mathematical strategy!

Gifts for Military Members

When basic combat training is over, or if you’re looking for something more special than a pencil-and-paper game board to send your loved one overseas or stationed on base away from home, My Hero Crate builds and sends military care packages for your heroes!

Each My Hero Crate contains an assortment of military-approved snacks and treats, all sourced from American suppliers. Choose from our specialty military care packages, including gift boxes for soldiers with special diet requirements, or purchase a monthly snack box subscription so your hero gets an Army care package twelve times a year — or whichever branch of military your loved one serves in!

What is PTSD?

It’s a Common Mental Health Issue that Affects Many

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health problem some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like military combat. It’s perfectly normal to have upsetting memories, emotional reactions, or issues falling asleep after such traumatic events. Some people feel better within a few months, but people who have prolonged symptoms might have PTSD.

Frequency of PTSD in Military Veterans

It’s very common for members of the armed forces to develop PTSD. No one should ever feel alone for struggling with it. In fact, according to Veterans Affairs, between 11 and 20 percent of every 100 veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom have PTSD. 

PTSD didn’t start during these most recent times of war, however. Twelve percent of veterans of the Gulf War, also called Desert Storm, have been diagnosed with PTSD. And even as far back as the Vietnam War, about 15 percent were diagnosed in the late 1980s, but today it’s estimated that 30 percent of Vietnam veterans have had PTSD in their lifetime.

Who Can Develop PTSD?

Anyone can develop PTSD at any point in their lives, even from a very young age, if they’ve experienced a long-lasting or short, but very intense traumatic event. Risk of developing PTSD is heightened if the person does not get immediate or appropriate care after the trauma, or if they don’t have enough social support. Of course, it’s possible even with these in place, a person can still develop PTSD, and it isn’t their fault at all.

What Are the Symptoms of PTSD?

There are generally four types of PTSD symptoms, and not everyone will experience them in the same way.

1.Reliving the event, which can cause feelings of fear, nightmares, or the sense that you’re experiencing the event all over again.

2. Avoiding situations that serve as reminders of the trauma, such as not talking about the event, avoiding crowds or driving, or whatever else may remind you of what happened.

3. Experiencing negative changes in your emotions or beliefs, such as no longer having loving feelings toward other people, or taking on a negative worldview.

4. Feeling hyper-aroused, also known as feeling overstimulated. The VA refers to this as “feeling keyed up.” This sometimes causes you to feel very irritable, lose sleep, have trouble concentrating, or startle easily.

PTSD Treatments

The most successful PTSD treatments are trauma-focused psychotherapies. This type of treatment helps to process traumatic experiences.

The VA uses:

  • -Prolonged Exposure: teaches those with PTSD to face their negative feelings, including talking about the trauma.
  • -Cognitive Processing Therapy: teaches those with PTSD to reframe their negative thoughts about the trauma and focuses on discussing negative thoughts.
  • -Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing: helps make sense of trauma by thinking about the trauma while paying attention to back-and-forth movement or sound (like a finger waving side to side, or a single tone). 

How Can I Support Someone with PTSD?

If your loved one is suffering with PTSD, there are a few ways you can help support them.

  • -Don’t force them to talk about their trauma if they don’t want to.
  • -Anticipate their triggers. For example, if you know a certain sound will trigger a negative memory of the traumatic event, prepare for the trigger. Come up with a plan with your loved one about what you can do when they experience a trigger.
  • -Do normal things in a normal routine. Don’t avoid everyday actions, stop planning vacations, or cease normal functions. A sense of normalcy goes a long way in helping those with PTSD.
  • -Remain calm during emotional outbursts and let your loved one know they are safe.
  • -Meet with your loved one’s mental health providers to learn how you can help in their specific situation.

Why My Hero Crate Cares About PTSD

My Hero Crate cares deeply about our service men and women and works every day to help enhance their lives, not just through creating special care packages for the military, but also by donating proceeds to veteran-backed organizations. We understand that mental health issues can be difficult to manage, and we hope our work will be a light in the dark for those who benefit from the organizations we support. Shop our military care packages to send to your favorite hero.

Enter To Win 1 of 5 Military Snack Care Packages!

Enter to Win a Military Snack Care Package!

 
This contest is over. We gave away five Military Snack Care Packages to wonderful winners on Facebook and Instagram. Thank you so much to everyone who entered!
 
 
Contest details:

To celebrate our website launch we are GIVING AWAY FIVE Military Snack Care Packages! Share it with someone you care about! We will announce the winners on Memorial Day.

 

HOW TO ENTER:

•Follow @myhercrate on Instagram or Facebook

•Tag three friends on a contest post

•Like our page

•Sign Up For our newsletter below

No Purchase Necessary. Must be 18 Years or Older to Enter. Must Live in the United States. Shipping address must be in the United States, US military bases only (dpo/fpo/apo). This contest is not affiliated in any way by Instagram or Facebook. Contest begins 5/18/2020 12A EST and Ends 5/25/2020 12P EST. Winners will be drawn Monday, 5/25/2020 12P EST and announced on both Instagram and Facebook.

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Three Ways to Jazz Up Your Snail Mail

Loved Ones in the Armed Forces Treasure Your Letters


When your soldier is deployed, or your recruit is away at basic combat training, all the branches of the military recommend sending letters to your loved one the old-fashioned way. These motivating letters help your favorite military member get through each day. Training and deployment aren’t easy times.

Depending on your soldier’s or recruit’s location and training status, you will want to take great care with what you send in the mail and how you send it. Here are three ways you can make your mail extra special without attracting attention from the drill sergeant or breaking any rules.

 

The Boot Camp Exception: Keep Basic Training Mail Simple

The least conspicuous mail to your recruit at boot camp can be, the better. Use plain white envelopes, and write only their address and your return address on the outside. Avoid adding stickers, doodles, or other messages to the outside of the envelope. It can be tempting to make the letter look fun and exciting, but it’s sure to catch the attention of the drill sergeant during mail call.

The best way to jazz up mail at boot camp is to include one or two small photos, or reserve drawings or motivating messages for inside the letter itself. Your recruit can open their mail away from prying eyes and be able to privately enjoy the character you’ve added to their mail.

If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of having photos printed, then picking them up, and hoping they fit inside the envelope, you can use your home printer to add images directly to the paper you write your letter on. This also simplifies the number of items your recruit will need to keep organized in their limited storage space.

Most military bases will recommend that you not send armed forces care packages to your recruit during boot camp, unless they specifically ask for an item. 


Talk About What’s Important

Instead of rambling on about all the things your military member is missing back home, especially if you have a recruit in boot camp, focus your letters on their training, their goals, and the relationships they’re building. This is much more motivating and less likely to make them feel homesick.

Similarly, deployed troops love receiving motivating letters, too. It helps them focus on the task they’ve been sent to do. It’s also only natural to want to keep your soldier updated on everything that’s happening back home. Use your best judgement on how to share those details. Remember that letters from home always stir up emotions.


Add Something Unexpected

Outside of boot camp, you can dress up letters to your soldier with less risk of attracting attention. While you might consider tossing in a small amount of confetti for flair, especially on a birthday, your soldier will be expected to clean up every piece! 

Instead, you might change up the way you’re writing your letters. For example:

  • Write a letter, journal-style. Work on the letter over a period of a week, dating each new section. This will provide you with chances to write a little bit or a lot each day. Hearing about your days in snippets can be comforting and show your soldier just how quickly the time is passing.

  • Include newspaper clippings, magazine cut-outs, or other tidbits from your soldier’s favorite news source, or about their favorite topic. It’s especially poignant if it’s related to their hometown or somewhere special to them.

  • Make your own greeting card, with your own art, out of plain cardstock. Paint, draw, color, or collage the front of it to customize it.

  • Send a military-themed care package. Soldiers love receiving snacks and other items from their loved ones. If they’re deployed overseas, you can even take advantage of domestic shipping rates for base addresses. My Hero Crate is pleased to offer military care packages for all branches. Each of our carefully curated gift boxes includes American products from American distributors and comes with free shipping, making sending a special package even easier. But remember: don’t send a care package to a recruit at basic training!

 

Learn more about My Hero Crate and our new snack box subscriptions. You can shop our full selection online, including our gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan options.

Celebrating a Deployed Soldier’s Birthday

Be Discreet, or Go All Out!

At any stage in a military member’s career, hearing from loved ones at home is comforting and motivating. But when it comes to their birthday, things can get a little more complicated depending on where they are and what they’re doing.

To simplify your decision-making about what to do for your soldier’s or recruit’s birthday, My Hero Crate is here to give you some great ideas.



Birthdays at Boot Camp

Most recruits are pretty young — fresh out of high school, or even college-age — although, of course, there are plenty that are a little older, too. Birthdays are still pretty special to them, especially as they reach landmark years: leaving their teens, or turning 21.

If your recruit’s birthday falls during their time away at boot camp, we have some bad news. Boot camp is actually not the best time to send your recruit a military care package, let alone a birthday gift. There’s a reason recruits are instructed to not bring much with them to basic combat training, and that’s because whichever branch they’ve enlisted in, be it Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, or Coast Guard, they provide what they need to get through.

However, that isn’t to say you shouldn’t acknowledge your recruit’s birthday. Instead of a soldier care package, consider sending a heartfelt letter through the mail. Reflect on previous celebrations, talk about how proud you are of them for joining the military, and wish them happy birthday in a way that won’t bring the ire of their drill sergeant down upon them. The one thing you definitely don’t want during boot camp is special attention!

 

Birthdays After Basic Training

When your recruit graduates to soldier and their birthday comes around, finding creative ways to celebrate or send a gift to a military base is totally OK!

Some people prefer to keep it simple and follow the boot camp rules for celebrating birthdays. But if your soldier really loves their birthday, you might want to send a special Army care package, or build your own Navy gift box — or whatever branch they’re in — to send to your soldier.

If you want to keep it simple, My Hero Crate can take care of the packaging and shipping for you. Just select what type of care package you’d like to send, and your hero will receive their military care package directly from us.

If you prefer to create your own, know you will need to carefully package the contents to prevent them from being crushed, especially if you’re including anything fragile (like certain snacks). A popular item to receive is the famous cake-in-a-jar, which is a personal-sized cake baked directly inside a canning jar. Other ideas include necessities like underwear or sunblock; snacks, like chips, nuts, jerky, trail mix, or drink mixes in single-serving packages; simple games like cards or puzzle books (but not jigsaw puzzles); stationery supplies without stamps; and photos and special notes.

 

Birthdays During Deployment

It’s hard enough to be deployed to another part of the world, let alone when you’re deployed on your birthday. Just as you might send your soldier a birthday gift when they’re stateside, you also can send them a gift while they’re deployed for the domestic cost of shipping.

The United States Postal Service offers a reduced rate for military mail. You need only pay domestic postage on anything going to an APO or FPO address, as long as you have the APO/FPO/DPO and the zip code. Double-check with your soldier that you’ve written their mailing address down correctly before shipping a gift to them.

If assembling overseas-quality sturdy packaging and securing shipping just isn’t your forte, but you still want to send something special, My Hero Crate can take care of you in this situation, too! Our soldier care packages ship free 100% of the time. You’re already paying the emotional toll of having a loved one in the military; you don’t need to be nickel-and-dimed for postage, too.

 

Shop Now at My Hero Crate

Ready to send a care package and let us handle everything for you? Perfect! We’re ready to do it! Start by browsing our selection of care packages. You can even choose to sign your soldier up for a care package subscription service, and we’ll send a gift box every month!

When you place the gift box order with us, you’ll include your billing address, and your soldier’s shipping address. Then, we’ll take care of the rest. The next thing you know, you’ll get a phone call or letter thanking you for the care package full of snacks and sweet treats.

© 2020 MY HERO CRATE