One of the things I always work to avoid during the holidays is also one of the most necessary.
As a military family, we don’t always get to spend the season close to family and friends.
But we still want to send fun and thoughtful gifts.
So I stand in the long and soul-crushing line at my local post office.
The year that my husband was deployed, I spent more hours than I care to remember in the line at the post office. I learned how to expertly pack flat-rate boxes and fill out customs forms. The post office employees got to know me and even started asking after my family when I came with yet another package. “When does he come home?” one of them asked me once.
They knew only military spouses spent that much time sending care packages overseas in our community.
Troopster provides curated care packages to military troops stationed and deployed overseas. Skip the line and still send a thoughtful gift?
“Do you know someone serving in the military? If you do, you’ve probably experienced the frustrations of trying to use military mail to send deployment gifts abroad,” says Troopster’s website. “We knew there had to be a better way.”
How it works. Troopster allows gift givers to upload photos and personalized letters, which they then print and package, along with snacks and treats. They take care of shipping and all customs forms.
“At Troopster, we handle customs requirements and military mail for you, so you can focus on what counts: supporting your deployed troop!” says the organization.
Packages include everything from printed photos from home to tasty treats. They have options tailored to each branch of service, as well as healthy care packages for that servicemember who passes the long days of deployment in the gym. There is even an option for deployed troops to send parcels back home to their kids to let them know they are thinking of them, too.
Prices are understandably slightly higher than what you would be able to put together if you went to the store and bought your own snacks, but not unreasonable. The convenience of avoiding the post office and customs hassle is well worth the small additional cost. Plus, there’s an endless amount of customizable and curated boxes, with special and convenient snacks for those deployed.
A veteran and entrepreneur. Troopster is veteran-owned and operated, completing the circle of supporting both deployed troops, their families, and those who served.
The company was founded by then-Navy Petty Officer Chelsea Mandello, who wanted to find a better way to send and receive care packages.
Having experienced what she called “heartbreak boxes,” care packages that came damaged, expired, and unusable, she set out to create Troopster in 2013. In 2015, the company officially launched and has since sent over 2,890 care packages.
There is also the option to send a care package to deployed servicemembers who may not have anyone at home to send them a gift. The nonprofit arm of the company, Troopster Donation Corp., provides an avenue for grateful and generous individuals and companies to “adopt” a troop.
Troopster is veteran-owned and operated, completing the circle of supporting both deployed troops, their families, and those who served.
“From kids to adults, everyone wants to support those they love who defend our country and we strive to always make the process of that support an easy and affordable effort,” says Mandello.
This holiday season, consider sending a care package to someone deployed overseas who is away from family or without family back home to send holiday cheer.
It’s never been easier to spread joy and cheer to those far from home and who need it most.
Katie Begley is an OpsLens contributor, a U.S. Naval Academy graduate, and a former surface warfare officer. In addition to being a military spouse, she is a freelance writer specializing in travel, education and parenting subjects. This OpsLens piece is used by permission.
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