I just spent a few hours volunteering with an organization called
Full Circle Home.
I'll call it a "Reverse Care Package" system. The organization collects small,
donated gifts (perfume, key chains, chocolates, etc.) and then gift wraps and
packages them so that the troops can send the gifts back to their loved ones
The troops fill out a form and write a handwritten note before deploying.
Full Circle Home collects the forms, puts the notes in a box with various
gifts and then sends them to the loved ones at home. They do a Christmas
mailing, a Mother's Day mailing, etc. They also include a small package
of tissues in each box. The troops never actually see the package, since
they are all mailed from the states, but they do get a list of what is
in the box so that they know what their loved ones will receive.
The organizers told me that some people rip into the boxes as soon as
they get it, others wait until they are skyping with their loved one
overseas and open one small box each time they talk, others gather family
members together and open the gifts as a group.
I gotta admit, it brought a tear or two my eyes. For those with some
spare time, you might want to consider contacting Full Circle Home and
finding out if they have a chapter near you or know of a similar organization
that you could help out.