Our Troops Need Us

Our Troops Need Us
US Navy 060615-N-5334H-097 A member of Girl Sc...
Image via Wikipedia

Have you ever become weary in doing the right thing? I sure have. The best thing to get out of that rut is to find someone to be kind to whether in word or deed. This war that’s been going on forever it seems, got me to thinking about how I used to send care packages to my brother when he served in the first and second Iraq wars. Well it’s been years since he’s been back and I have not known anyone directly to send care packages to so I haven’t done so.

 A couple of months ago a friend I met in my school days was deployed over seas and it never occurred to me until now to start sending him care packages. I figured he has a family, let them do that for him. That is until I saw a blog today with a photo that really bothered me. It was a young marine standing by an empty wood crate and the caption read: We need more care packages. Please send some! I thought, what if that was me, a lone soldier out there not being able to receive anything from back home? I would seriously hate to be THAT guy. So I made a trip to the store and I put together a care package for my friend.

I am posting a handy list I found of  in demand items our troops deployed over seas  need. Even if you don’t know a soldier, send a care package to a soldier, I hear they love it. It’s a good feeling when you know the little bit that you can contribute will make some one else’s life a little better. ^.^

Due to our Policies and Regulations, we CANNOT ACCEPT these items:

CONTRABAND ITEMS (live plants, tobacco, alcohol, knives, nudity, etc.)
HARD-COVER BOOKS & MUSIC CDS*  (*CDs accepted only at our North Carolina Branch)


For security and sanitary reasons, please leave all items in their original packages.
When purchasing items, please choose the latest expiration date possible.

Thank you for your cooperation and support!




  • COFFEE (Ground or whole; instant or drip. Ground is preferred)
  • POWDER DRINK MIX (Gatorade, Kool-Aid, Crystal Light)
  • TUNA & CHICKEN SALAD (in foil pouches, or ready-to-eat kits (no cans)
  • CHOCOLATE PRODUCTS accepted from OCTOBER through MARCH (it will melt in high temperatures!)

  • Hot Chocolate packets, Herbal teas
  • Hard Pretzels / Cheetos / Fritos / Chex Mix / Wheat Thins / Ritz

  • Gum / Hard Candy (must be individually wrapped in large bags)

  • Granola Bars / Power Bars / Cereal Bars / Cliff Bars

  • Fig Newtons, Oreos, Cheese & Crackers – Small Packs
  • Trail Mix, Dried Fruit, Granola, Fruit Roll-Ups / Fruit By The Foot / Fruit Gummies

  • DRY SOUP: (Ramen Noodles / Cup-O-Soup: just add water)

  • NUTS: Peanuts, Mixed Nuts (salted preferred)

  • MICROWAVE FOOD (Popcorn, Chef-Boy-R-Dee, Mac’n’Cheese…)

  • COOKIES / Girl Scout Cookies (with chocolate: Oct. – Feb. only!)

  • Rice Krispie Treats (Store-bought only)

  • Little Debbies® & Hostess® cake products

  • Oatmeal Packs (Instant: just add water)

  • Cereal (Small, individual boxes)

  • Condiments, Spices; Sugar; Salad Dressing (no glass jars)
  • Caffeinated gum or candy (to stay alert)

(Note: Some troops have allergies & need Brand Name toiletries which list all ingredients. The military issues and/or sells toiletries to our troops, however troops often miss their favorite brand of shampoo or soap. Our goal is to send troops reminders of home & items they miss … not free samples.)

  • BABY WIPES (travel size)

  • HAND SANITIZER (travel size)

  • Body Wash, Liquid Soap, Facial Cleanser

  • Shampoo /Conditioner (travel size)
  • Hair Gel (for female troops to pull hair back)
  • Combs / Brushes / Bobby Pins (in original packaging, please)

  • Deodorant (travel size)
  • Razors (disposable or “Intuition” or “Mach 3” types)
  • Shaving Cream in Tubes / Shaving Soap (No CANS of Shaving Cream, please!)
  • Lip balm / Chap Stick / Carmex / Blistex

  • Baby Powder & Foot Powder (travel size)

  • Tissues (individual packs; travel size only)
  • Hand & Body Lotion / Moisturizer (travel size)
  • Sunblock, SPF 45, Zinc, Vitamin E, Aloe Vera Gel

  • Bug Spray / DEET / Skin-So-Soft

  • Mouthwash (travel size)

  • Toothpaste & Toothbrushes & Dental Floss

  • Breath Mints / Breath Strips

  • Lozenges / Cough Drops
  • Loufa Sponges / Buff Puffs / Washcloths
  • Nail files / Emery Boards / Nail Clippers

  • Feminine Hygiene Products
  • Cotton Swabs (i.e. Q-tips) – also used to clean guns!
  • Cotton Balls

  • Band-aids, Gauze Pads, First Aid Kits / Ace bandages, Icy Hot or Bengay cream

  • Moleskin
  • Shoe Insole Cushions (gel kind is best)
  • Tylenol, Motrin, Advil or Aspirin Packets
  • Eye Drops (i.e. Visine)
  • Nasal Spray
  • Vitamins (multi-vitamins are always needed!)


  • BATTERIES: (AA, AAA, C & 9 Volt are the most requested)

  • DVD Movies (new or usedrecent releases only, please!)

  • Xbox Games, PSP, PS2 & PS3 Games (new or used)
  • iTunes® Gift Cards
  • 35 mm disposable cameras
  • Computer Flash Drives & Thumb Drives
  • Portable CD players / head phones
  • Electronic handheld games
  • Small homemade gifts – reminders & comforts of “home”

  • Small photographs or posters of scenery for their tents & walls
  • Pens & mechanical pencils, small note pads

  • Stationery & Envelopes; blank cards to send home

  • Double-sided tape, small crafts kits, scrap-booking items

  • Day planners / Calendars / Small, Pocket Calendars

  • Game Books: (Crossword Puzzles / Word Search Books / Math Puzzle books / MAD LIBS / Logic Problems / Sudoku)
  • Yo-Yo’s, Dominoes, Playing Cards (new), Poker Chips & Mats, Dice
  • Board games (UNO, Othello, Checkers – travel size is great, too!)
  • Dart Boards (regular or magnetic – any size)
  • Nerf Footballs / Whiffle bats, balls & Mitts / Sports equipment

  • Frisbees / Hackey sacks

  • Music CDs, Magazines & Books (Accepted ONLY at our NORTH CAROLINA BRANCH)


  • LINENS: Pillow cases, twin sheets, towels (green & tan)
  • T-SHIRTS: Cotton green & tan under shirts – new (Sizes: M, L & XL)
     [Note: The DOD banned “Under-Armor” shirts due to its material being potentially flammable & bad reactions to open wounds.]
  • FLASHLIGHTS – SMALL(battery operated. Surefire Brand preferred)
  • AIR FRESHENERS (standalone-not plug-in. Car types are also good)

  • SOCKS: Black, Olive Green & White (cotton or wool)
  • PHONE CARDS – Pre-Paid (Click HERE for Where to Buy and What Types of Phone Cards to Buy from Third-Party Vendors)
  • Gift Cards to send home to loved ones (for Restaurants, Supermarkets)
  • Small toys (Beanie babies) & school supplies for Iraqi & Afghan children

  • Patriotic knick-knacks, USA flags, flags from your state, bandanas, baseball hats, football jerseys, banners to tack on their walls or tents.
  • Black or Green duct tape, small tool kits, dust masks, carpentry tools, Fly swatters, fly paper, mosquito netting, bug repellent in plastic pump bottles only           (NO AEROSOL CANS, PLEASE!)
  • Paint brushes, adhesive wall hooks, sponges
  • Gun cleaning supplies (lube) such as Militec-1 & CLP
  • Generic sunglasses (Ballistic, black only. No “mirror” types)
  • Alarm Clocks (Small in size; wind-up or battery-operated)
  • Small, portable heaters & fans (110 voltage okay)
  • Fleece Blankets (Yes, it gets very cold in the winter over there!!)
  • Disposable Hand warmers and Foot warmers (in the wintertime)
  • Winter Hats (Yes, it snows in the winter over there! Hand knitted hats in black, tan or green are always welcome!)
  • Water Bottles, Travel Mugs & Thermoses with Lids, (for Coffee, Tea & Soup)
  • Coffee Makers & Filters (110 voltage okay)
  • Coffee Bean Grinders – small (electric or battery-operated)
  • Microwave Ovens (55 pounds max; 110 voltage okay)
  • Hot Pots – Small
  • Elixir & Water Purification Tablets for Camelbaks
  • Combat Application Tourniquets (black only)
  • Religious booklets, small bibles, inspirational readings
  • Holiday and Seasonal Decorations – see our PROGRAMS PAGE for details
  • K-9 items:
    Dog treats, toys, shampoo, flea collars, etc.
    (Note: CLICK HERE to see our restrictions and guidelines if you wish to donate items to the dogs. Thank you.)

  • CARDS & LETTERS: The troops love to hear from all of us and Mail brightens their days!  These are the MOST IMPORTANTitems we can send the troops & we can never have too many, so please keep writing! consider making a patriotic banner or poster to send inside one of our care packages!Note: Our troops do not need stamps as they’re in war zones & may send mail home to their loved ones at no charge, but our branches can always use stamps to send correspondence

Having Done Everything: STAND!

This is the place for me,

this is where I have to be.

What is my life without you in it?

What would I be if you aren’t beside me?

Where would I go?

Look my way God and don’t release me.

Look my way and take away this pain.

Look my way and let me feel,

the very blood for which you were slain.

Look my way, let me know you’re there

look my way, let me know you care.

Look my way, hold my hand

look my way, I wanna run with you on the soft sand.

Look my way, help me feel the joy

my joy in your salvation.

Don’t ever relax your hold on me.

Don’t ever relax your hold on my family.

Don’t ever relax your hold on all the souls here.

Without you I am but a vapor;

here today and gone the next.

So here I am:



To Speak or Not To Speak

“You are responsible not only for what you do say, but also for what you do not say.” —Martin Luther

Life is eternal and so are words. Why is it that people think they can say whatever comes to mind and not receive repercussions from their spoken words or deeds. Life is in the tongue; the tongue can create or destroy. How do you use words on a daily basis? Do you speak in order to hurt others or to build them up with encouragement.

I grew up never being allowed to speak my mind; it hurt me in more ways than I can possibly realize. As I have gotten older I see the travesty in not telling your children that they are loved on a daily basis. When I was a child I was never told that by the people who raised me and it has made me insecure in some areas of my life. Now that I have kids of my own, I lavish them with encouraging words because I know the terrible void unspoken words have left in my heart.

We set things in motion when we speak; what are you speaking over yourself? Have you ever stopped to listen to what you actually say to others and to yourself? Take the ear phones out and turn off all of the noise around you and really tune into your inner voice. What does it sound like? I do that often and it helps me by correcting the things I say to myself. Choose this day what words to say; you can curse or bless but you can’t do them both simultaneously.



Fear is false evidence appearing real. Think of it, fear lies to you and tries to keep you where you think you’re safe but you’re really not. There are different kinds of fear; there is the healthy fear or respect that you have to teach a young child about not touching a hot stove with their hand or they’ll get burned.

Then there is the fear of God; it’s not that you fear Him because you’re afraid he might squash you like a bug. This fear is more of a respect out of an acknowledgement that HE is God and you’re not.

The kind of fear I’m talking about is the fear that paralyzes a person and keeps them trapped as in a cage.It lies to you telling you not to trust anyone because there’s no good people out there. Another lie it whispers is the “you’re jus not good enough” and “you’ll never be anything”. This kind of fear alienates you and keeps you from forming healthy relationships with others. In the end you end up destroyed by the very thing you feared.

The one thing that conquers fear is LOVE. God is Love; love is God. His perfect love annihilates fear; it renders it obsolete. Did you know that the human brain was wired for love? We were not designed for fear!! SO if you are living afraid it’s because you are allowing fear to rule and not love. It’s so black and white, it’s simple. We either live in hate or in love, but we cannot do both.

Laugh Out Loud!

Laugh Out Loud!
Despicable Me!

I have just finished watching the movie Despicable Me for like the umpteenth time and I am a die hard fan. I must admit when I first saw the previews I thought it would be a complete flop. Now when I’m having a day where I need something to make me smile I turn to this flick with out hesitating. So please enjoy this video and go watch it if you haven’t and if you have, let it  be your medicine when you need laughter.  I should mention that I love this movie so much that before I received my own copy of it as a gift from a friend, I’d send my kids to my neighbor across the street to borrow it. Enjoy the video and remember to watch this if you have a Dr. Gru or a Vector in your life…it makes it easier to cope with those kinds of people! Oh, And if you happen to BE a Dr. Gru or Vector type of personality watch it and laugh at yourself; that’s good for your health you know :)!

It’s Fruit Season!

Fruit bowl - containing pomegranate, pears, ap...
Image via Wikipedia

” You shall know them by their fruit…”

Dear Diary,

I went camping yesterday with a few adults and a group of kids. I am new to this church I recently started attending. My Ma avoids going to church because she doesn’t like religious folks so we have stayed away from church circles for a while. I love God and I have a deep faith in Him because my Ma  models Him for me everyday. But just recently I felt drawn to finding a church to call my 2nd home. And, I thought I had done just that until I went on this trip. Boy was I blown away with the things I saw some of these “nice” church people doing.

The leader of the whole group was nice at first but in time I saw his true colors. I heard him talk down to a lot of kids and when one of the adults got hurt he was so lacking in compassion. I thought,’ I’m supposed to listen to him? Why?’

Then there were the various groups of cliques that had formed; I felt just like I do when I go to school everyday. The popular kids hang with each other and the regular kids like me we sought out the ones who were ignored by the popular kids. I thought.’ No wonder my Ma stays away from all this craziness.’

I saw another thing that really made me sad and it was how this one youth leader whom us guys are suppose to look up to was rough housing and playing with some of the girls that came. This guy was trippin’…on his own ego that is. Wasn’t he supposed to be looking out for all of our safety? Isn’t that what leaders do? I saw two girls I had been talking with all week end long get injured under this guy’s “watchful eye” when the raft they were all on was capsized and it landed on both girl’s heads. Hmmmm you be the judge God and you show me if I’m being judgemental or not. If I am forgive me; but if I’m not, help us all act more like you.

Lastly, I read somewhere that we will be known by our fruit. One of the fruit of The Spirit is LOVE. This week end I saw love in some people that came on this trip; there were some parents that came a long to help out the youth leaders; I saw love in them. Then I saw love in a couple of the other youth leaders. May be just maybe, the rest of the youth leaders came along to learn to love by having to serve the whole group. You decide.

I’m glad I went on this trip though because I did get to meet some really cool kids.

Talk more later…

Carlos G.

P.S. To ALL youth group leaders everywhere: Please remember we are still kids and if you are trying to lead us, we watch what you DO, way more than what you SAY.


It’s The Little Things

It’s The Little Things

There have been some very bright spots during the past few days and I can’t let another day go by without a shout out!

Definition of  a BRIGHT SPOT: Any random act or word of kindness that is done or said to you or you do or say to someone else to brighten up their day.

– My sister Heidi texted me at mid night telling me she was weeping as she prayed for me.

– My daughter posting on Facebook that she loves me in several different languages: Te Amo, J’ Taime, I Love you, Ik hou van je, Ich liebe dich, אני אוהב אותך, Ti amo, Amo te, Eu te amo, Я люблю тебя, 🙂 There are hundreds of ways but it all means the same ♥ 🙂 –Esther

– My ten year old daughter giving me weekly mani-pedis and she is quite good at it too.

-A few weeks ago,  I received 3 red roses and my feet were anointed with a fragrant oil.

I’m not going to go on about what I do for others because I know that God sees what I do and He rewards what I do openly because I do it in secret. GO! Find someone to be good to today and see your day brighten up instantly.