Here’s a message from my friend, Karen. Karen is not only the mother is six boys (yep, I have no right to whine), her husband is military and currently deployed, she’s living in the sub-arctic and, really, she’s just a far better woman than I will ever be.
Anyway,as we were discussing our homeschool board’s Christmas card list, she asked if we would all do this as well. We’ll be sending a little package from each of us and I hope many of you can do the same. Here is Karen’s note:
Okay, first the ground rules:
1. Cards – Please make sure that they are generic “holiday” cards and not specific to a certain religion. There are wounded warriors of all faiths (and of no particular faith) who will be in the ICU. Cards with patriotic themes are best.
2. Letters – Letters are great. The only ground rule for the letters is to make sure that you don’t make any political statements in the letters. Make the focus of the letter on the patient, not the war.
3. Treats – Treats are fine, but they must be packaged accordingly. To those who expressed an interest in sending homemade cookies or treats, package them in Ziploc bags and then put the baggies into disposable plastic containers in order to avoid them being crushed in shipment.
4. Address – You don’t have to put anything on the outside except the following address. No need to say “ANY SOLDIER” or anything like that. This address is for the theater hospital’s chaplain who interacts with the ICU patients daily. My husband already talked with the chaplain and has let him know that your cards and letters will be coming.
AFTH Chapel Services – Ward/CASF
APO AE 09315
I want to express to you how much this means both to my husband and me, and to the anonymous soldiers who will be receiving your donations of love. The average age of the soldiers over there is under the age of 21, many of them still unmarried. For them to know that there are still people back home who care for them is an immeasurable treasure. Very humbly, I say thank you on their behalf.
Some additional notes:
You can send as many cards/letters as you would like. The chaplain will hand them out to patients as he sees the need arise. I can say with certainty that homemade treats are best. They get a variety of store-made items at the chow hall/cafeteria/hospital, but they seldom get anything with that “back-home touch”. So just some homemade cookies – nothing fancy – are great.
Once they are in the theater hospital, all their needs are taken care of. They are in need of nothing, really. They just need something to lift their spirits more than anything. Pictures that kids draw, words of kindness, expressions of thanks for their service, etc., go a long way. You can include a picture of your family so they have a friendly smile to go along with your written words. Don’t be afraid to talk about yourself in order to introduce yourselves to him/her.
They most likely will NOT write back to you since they will be in transit as soon as they are stablized. (They leave the CASF in Iraq and head to the CASF in Germany before ultimately heading back to the States.) But if you want to leave your return address, you might get lucky.
Also, please allow 7-14 days for your shipment to make it there. I have been lucky in that when I send a package from here on Thursday, it arrives on the following Tuesday. I doubt that will hold true during the Christmas season, so gve your letters/packages ample time to reach them.
Does that help? Let me know if something is unclear.