1.9 M serve in our military and over half never get a care package.

At ShipThrifty, we know how much care packages mean to service members. So we do everything we can to make the process easier from amazing tools to support for 1000’s of packing events every year.

Hosting care package events gets people out of their “bubbles” to support our troops while strengthening bonds for teams and communities too!

  • Fun and rewarding to do
  • Creates pride
  • Provides a differentiator
  • Boosts morale for your team and our troops

Phase 1: Make a few care package event decisions

Consider how many packing volunteers you’ll have, the space you have for packing, and your budget. It’s a good idea to have a couple dates in mind just incase the space is already booked.

Most people think about supporting service members during the holidays and for Veterans Day activities, but they can use support throughout the year. There are military or patriotic opportunities each month.

It generally takes about 2 weeks for packages to get to service members so take that into account when planning if you want packages to arrive by a certain date.

If you are collecting product donations, get donation boxes lined up in your organization/community right away since it takes time for donations to come in.

If you are raising funds, get fundraising initiatives set up early as it takes time for people to find out about them and to donate.

The great thing about hosting a military care package event is that they are flexible! They can be as big or small as you like, and they can fit any budget.

Consider how many packing volunteers you’ll have, the space you have for packing, and your budget.

Pick a dependable person to be accountable for gathering everything that’s needed and coordinating the event. This role is great for your natural leaders.

You’ll need:

  1. Funds for shipping - estimate $10 to $20 per box depending on the location you’re shipping from
  2. Boxes - free to a couple dollars a box depending on size
  3. Items to pack - free to $25 per box
  4. Clear packing tape – free to $3.50 a roll
  5. Craft supplies and pens – optional, if you decide to decorate the boxes.

Tip - You can cut costs and budget by having people pitch in to donate items to ship or dollars for shipping. USPS also offers free boxes, but some can cost more to ship than just using brown boxes. Brown boxes can also be donated by suppliers, vendors, or community businesses.

Our team is happy to help you find your most economical way to ship and answer any questions.

Location will depend upon the resources you have available.

Here are some ideas for places to pack:

  • Conference room or common space
  • Cafeteria
  • Local high school or community center
  • A local business or restaurant
  • A local American Legion or VFW Post
  • A park pavilion

You’ll just need to make sure that there is space to set out tables to put the products on you’ll be sending and for taping, packing, and labeling your boxes.

The other thing to consider is whether you’ll be dropping packages off at the post office or scheduling a pick up. If you want to have the post office pick up the boxes there will need to be a place to put them until they come. The location must have a postal address; for example, a business, American Legion, VFP Post, etc. where they can be safely stored and accessible for pick up.

Consider how many packing volunteers you’ll have, the space you have for packing, and your budget.

Have a couple dates in mind just incase the space is already booked.

You can cover the costs for shipping or raise funds to help.

If you are raising funds you will want to start right away. Your options will vary depending on the size of your event, timing, and who you are.

Here are some fundraising ideas to give you a head start:

  1. Host a hat day – Participants donate $ and wear a hat (this works great in schools and business)
  2. Pack groceries at a local market for monetary donations (you can also share a donation list so shoppers can donate items too)
  3. Create a Go Fund Me
  4. Partner with a business who would donate a portion of sales for a given day
  5. Partner with vendors, suppliers, or nonprofits who would be interested in helping out
  6. For businesses, allow your employees to donate a day of vacation pay

If you decide to purchase items include that in your budget. Consider delivery timing if ordering online. You’ll also need a place to store the items until packing day.

If you decide to collect donations identify high traffic areas to put donation boxes. You can also partner with others who are willing to put donation boxes out in your community (grocery stores, banks, local retailers, etc.).

See if your connections know someone you can send to.

The ShipThrifty tools allow you to create a custom-branded care package request form. This is a secure form you can share with others or via social media to collect addresses for care packages. When the addresses are submitted, they will automatically load to your ShipThrifty address book, so you don't have to do any data entry. Yay!

Create a free ShipThrifty account

Then follow these steps to custom brand your care package request form

There are many different items that service members appreciate and love!

Think snacks, drink mix flavorings, hygiene items, games, coloring books, colored pencils, even notebooks and pens for writing.

Learn more about items to send and restrictions.

Download the Military Care Package Donation List

Get the word out. Tell people about the event so they can get excited and get involved.

  • Let people know the dates you are collecting items and when you are packing boxes
  • Put an announcement out
  • Send an email communication
  • Put posters up
  • Let people know you’ll be looking for volunteers on packing day (start a sign up sheet)

Phase 2: Prepare for packing your care packages

These are the basic steps involved. We’ve found the more you include others the more fun it is for everyone.

ShipThrifty’s customizable care package request form lets you easily gather addresses to send care package to. It’s secure and automatically loads the addresses to your private ShipThrifty address book with no data entry.

Add your branding, info, and save it then share the link with others or via social media to collect addresses securely.

Learn how to create your customs care package request form.

You’ll need a computer, printer, sturdy boxes, good packing tape, and a tape gun.

You can print labels on paper and tape them to boxes or use 4x6 label printer stickers with a label printer.

Order using our Amazon Affiliate Pick supplies up locally, or Get Large Flat Rate boxes on USPS.com

Use the tools to see if a 12 x 12 x 6 or Large Flat Rate costs less or call us.

If you have donation boxes in the community have someone pick up items so you know where you’re at with product donations.

Tip – By now you’ll likely have an address or a few. Check the base specific restrictions and pull out any donations that aren’t allowed for that base.

Here’s the link to check your zip codes: https://postcalc.usps.com/militaryrestrictions

If you need any extra supplies to add to your care packages order them online or pick them up at local stores.

Tip: The dollar stores have some awesome healthy single serve snacks.

Enter any addresses not submitted with the care package request form into your address book.

Double check those for military specific restrictions – See 4 above.

If you know how many boxes you’re shipping, and what you’ll be sending, you can even start your shipping labels ahead of time.

Make sure your team doesn’t miss packing day by sending an email or contacting them with a reminder.

If you’re dropping packages off at the post office, make sure you have volunteers who can drop off.

If setting up a pick up your packing location will need a place to set the boxes until the post office carrier picks them up.

The location must have a deliverable USPS address to qualify for pick up (i.e.. mailbox /mail stop)

Phase 3: Rock the military care packing event & have fun!

Now that you've completed all the tasks leading up to the final soirèe, here is our tried and true strategy to make packing go off without a hitch.

Set your donations out on tables. Keep food items separate from soaps, and place like items together.

Tips - Soaps can flavor food items so pack them in separate boxes if possible.

Put a couple volunteers on this task. If any box decorating is planned that can be done now too.

Use the Customs Log & jot the items down with the corresponding box number. Download it here

Tip – grouping like items together makes recording customs easier.

Use all the space but don’t over stuff them.

Add the addresses, box info, and customs details. Use your Customs Log and the copy features to make it easy.

You can do these ahead of time and print them early if you know what’s in your boxes.

Attach the matching label to each box.

Print the manifest to give to the mail person. One scan & you’re done.

Pick ups will require a place to put the packages until they are picked up and the location must have a mailbox/mail stop.

The ShipThrifty team are experts in military care package events and support 1,000’s of them every year. Reach out to us we’re passionate about helping you!

Congrats you have hosted a military care package event

now it’s time to experience all the benefits from hosting a military care package event.