The following is a list of items the Marines are specifically asking for. This list was last updated November 19, 2007. In some overseas locations, stores are not readily available to purchase these items. Many of the items on this list are specific to locations where the sand, wind, heat and other environmental factors dictate the needs. The most often requested items: letters, cigarettes, batteries, socks, drink mixes, and reading material; in that order. If your Marine does not need the items that you send, s/he'll share with other Marines.
TOILETRIES: Avoid sending toiletries with pump-style dispensers. For many Marines, travel-size toiletries or smaller containers are prefered for storage and easy portability.
Baby Wipes for personal hygiene
Liquid body wash
Disposable razors, electric razors, battery-operated razors
Kleenex (Travel size packets)
(Plastic-wrapped package of ten tissues: they stay dry, make great packing material and they can use it for TP, which is in short supply in many areas!)
Sunblock, Aloe Vera
Eye Drops (to relieve irritation from blowing sand)
Blistex, Chapstick, Vaseline, Carmex
Aspirin, Motrin, Tylenol, Pain Relievers
Saline spray/drops for sensitive nasal passages
Feminine hygiene products for women Marines
Jock itch spray
Lotrimin AF or other anti-fungal creams for athletes foot
(send tube of ointment or cream, NOT the spray kind)
Foot Powder (there are some that have ingredients to fight athletes foot), Shower-to-Shower Powder
(NOTE: Be sure the any powder is in it's sealed, original container. Put it in a ziploc bag as well.)
Moleskin (for pads on sore feet, you'll find it with Dr. Scholls type things at WalMart or drug stores)
Pocket Size, Travel Size Keep the items small: pocket-size, travel-size, sample-size are ideal. Remember your Marine has to pack this around, and if he/she is in a unit that may be mobilized, they're going to travel light.
Foot Care Is Crucial! Send socks, socks, and more socks! Check with your Marine for color and style. You'll be safe with black, boot-cut socks. However, in many locations Marines are asking for white, boot-cut socks. Also send anti-fungal creams and powders for athletes foot.
Pack Items in Individual "Lock-Style" Baggies Use plastic bags with zip-style closures for everything (like ziploc™ bags). The "freezer" bags seem to be more sturdy than regular storage bags. These will keep items from spilling and/or keep leaks from other care packages out of the items YOUR Marine's package.
Envelopes, paper, pens
Small pads of paper
Pre-addressed labels and/or envelopes
Notebooks (a size they can keep in a pocket and keep dry)
Very small, lightly padded envelopes mail back single-use cameras
(NOTE: Free mail to the U.S. is limited to letters only; all other items require postage.)
Postage stamps if they want to mail items larger than an envelope & letter
Batteries (AA, AAA, C)
Photos from home
Newspaper clippings, comics from Sunday's paper, news from home
Socks, Socks, Socks!
Underwear, socks, T-shirts
Tactical Duct Tape
(try to send military green, tan, black, dark gray; avoid lighter colors)
Flashlight with a red lens
1- and 2-gallon ziplock plastic bags
Frisbee, Nerf Footballs, Hacky Sack
Deck of cards
FOOD ITEMS: Pork and pork by-products are NOT allowed to be shipped to Middle East locations. Please check the label particularly on 'Slim Jims' and other packaged meat products; read the label. Fresh fruit and yeast are not allowed either.
Please send non-perishable foods only. Send small containers of items. Large packages won't stay fresh and are harder to ship. If you can stuff it in your pocket and it's not going to spoil or MELT, it's a good thing to send! Downplay the sugar. Items that are hydrated are heavier; i.e. ravioli versus ramen noodles. Some camps have methods to heat and hydrate, others do not.