Organizational – Volunteers are needed to help with correspondence, filing, making phone calls, scheduling volunteers, and organizing and scheduling donation locations and events. This takes a certain amount of skill and discipline and requires a great deal of time.
Area Coordinator –
Volunteers are needed for specific areas of the community to coordinate volunteers within those areas to perform designated tasks as they become warranted. As an example, when there are dates and times established for manning a donation drive location, the Area Coordinator would then call and organize those volunteers within their designated area to fill the schedule. In addition, the Area Coordinator would then be responsible for setting-up those locations with tables, chairs, and materials, such as brochures as required.
Public Relations – Volunteers are needed to assist with press releases, press conferences, notifying the press, and conducting press interviews. In addition, volunteers are needed for speaking engagements throughout the community when requested. This too takes a certain amount of skill and discipline and requires a fair amount of time.
Donations – Volunteers are needed who would be willing to contact large companies such as Nalley’s, Chef Boyardee, Campbells, etc. to solicit quantities of products to send to our troops. In addition, we need volunteers to solicit the community for additional donated items for use in our Care Packages. This will take a fair amount of time and could require a number of volunteers.
Fundraising – Volunteers are needed to assist with on-going fundraising efforts to solicit financial contributions to help pay for postage costs, labels, wrapping material, and related incidentals. In addition, assistance is needed to organize and promote Special Events, such as our “Yellow Ribbon” Program and “Operation Comfort.”
“Yellow Ribbons” – “U.S. Troop Care Package” has received donated Yellow Ribbons that we use for fundraising efforts through financial donations. We need volunteers to promote this effort, which should take a minimal amount of time.
“Operation Comfort” – “U.S. Troop Care Package” received photos from Iraq of soldiers sleeping setting up, on dirt floors, cardboard boxes, and one of the soldiers was even using his helmet as a pillow. These soldiers had just finished a twelve-hour shift defending our freedom and laying their lives on the line and looked absolutely exhausted. After receiving these pictures, “Operation Comfort” was initiated. As a result, “U.S. Troop Care Package” will be sending pillows to our soldiers. We need volunteers initially to separate the Fiber Fill from large bundles into smaller pillow-sizes and then place them into Zip-Lock bags. Then we need volunteers to cut material, sew, and stuff the pillows. The material should be cut into 13” x 13” pieces allowing for a ½ inch double-stitched seam to create a 12” x 12” finished pillow. This volunteer effort can be done at one’s own home or at a designated location. See our Calendar page for details.
Requests for Letters – “U.S. Troop Care Package” has received requests from our U.S. Troops that they would like to receive letters, particularly from children. We have received letters from 1st and 2nd grade school children from Cypress, TX and from the Tri-Cities, WA that have been forwarded to our soldiers. Parents, teachers, churches, and children’s groups, such as the Boys and Girls Clubs, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, 4-H etc. could use this letter writing project as a great volunteer effort to boost the morale of our soldiers protecting our freedoms away from home. We need volunteers to contact these groups to obtain the letters and to see that they are enclosed in our Care Packages.
Donation Booths – Volunteers are needed to man booth locations as needed. This requires answering questions from the public, accepting donated items and financial contributions. Depending upon the event(s) and the time involved, we generally ask volunteers to work in two-hour shifts. See our Calendar page for details.
Pick-Up Trucks – Volunteers with trucks are needed to help us move donated items to our storage unit and to transport the Care Packages. to the Post Office. In addition, there are often times when there are additional needs requiring trucks to move equipment, etc.
Shoe Boxes – “U.S. Troop Care Package” uses shoe boxes to mail our Care Packages. We need volunteers to obtain shoe boxes from area shoe retailers. Most shoe stores, particularly those stores who sell shoes in volume, gladly donate their empty shoe boxes. Just ask them nicely! Shoe boxes with lids are the most preferred. You will need an enclosed vehicle to haul them or if you have a pick-up truck, a “spider web” cargo net is necessary or large trash bags are effective as well.
Donation Boxes – “U.S. Troop Care Package” has had donation boxes in area grocery stores and in drug stores. We are currently seeking new locations for our donation boxes. Central locations with easy access are preferable. If anyone has a suggested location(s), please get in touch with us. In addition, we need volunteers to place the boxes at the various locations, empty the boxes of the donated items on a regular basis, and transport the donated items to our storage area.
Inspection and Inventory – As donated items come in, each item must be inspected to ensure that it is appropriate for sending to our troops. For instance, since we mail everything in shoe boxes, the size of each item is important. Further, the soldiers do not have any place to store a lot of items, much less items that are of a large quantity. For personal care or food items, “travel sizes” or “snack packs” are preferred. In addition, such things as pork products or religious materials are prohibited in the Middle East. Aerosol products are prohibited by the Post Office and in some areas of the Middle East, the weather is so hot that items such as stick deodorant or lip balm melt before they reach their destination. As the donated items are inspected, they are then placed in individual boxes as to their category. Lists need to be kept as to items that are needed and this information relayed to the appropriate parties. This is a time consuming project and a number of volunteers are required.
Bagging, Wrapping, and Packaging – All donated items are placed into Zip-Lock bags, which not only help with the packaging, but it preserves items in case something is broken and leaks. Once the items are bagged, the bagged items are placed into a shoe box and a card is enclosed in the box. Each shoe box is then taped and wrapped in paper. Return mailing labels and priority mail stickers are then attached. In addition, Custom Forms must be completed by hand and then attached to each Care Package box. This too is a time consuming project whereas a number of volunteers are required.
Custom Form – The Custom Form that we attach to each Care Package is required by the U.S. Post Office to be completed by hand. The Custom Form requires 1) Return Address; 2) Addressee; 3) Description of the contents; 4) Value; 5) Gift box checked; 6) Return to sender box checked; 7) Signature, and 8) Date. We have found however, that by filling these out in advance of our mailings, with the exception of the soldier’s name and address, our time is better spent on Fridays during the actual mailing process. Because each week we receive new names of soldiers being deployed and we remove names of soldiers who have returned, all we have to add to the Custom Form on the day of the mailing is the soldiers name and address.
Mailing – “U.S. Troop Care Package” normally mails once a week on Fridays. Friday mornings entail attaching the mailing label with each soldier’s name and address to the Care Package, completing the Custom Forms, and then loading up the pick-up truck(s). Once at the Post Office, volunteers assist postal personnel with the mailing process. Again, this is also a time consuming project whereas a number of volunteers are required.