Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Mishaps and Miracles of Sending Care Packages

Typically when a person thinks about sending a care package to a service member overseas they think of what they will put in the box and what message they will include with it. Not always does a person think about the logistics of sending multiple boxes at once. For instance, there are special regulations for each APO/FPO. Some of these restrict certain types of products. As an example, all APOs in the Middle East are prohibited from receiving anything containing pork byproduct. All international care packages must also come with a customs sheet that declares what is in the package.

These steps in sending a care package are easy enough to complete, even on a large scale like we do here at the Iowa Troop Pantry. But sometimes things go awry during the time that a box is heading to the post office. This is what happened to us today:

Upon loading several boxes into one of our vehicles we headed to the post office. We use the office in Coralville because it is easier to get in and out of with a cart of ten or so care packages. The staff also seems to mind us less. (For this, our most sincere thanks.) As we passed the Hardee's on the Coralville strip, the trunk door flew open. We pulled off the road immediately, secured the boxes, and double checked that the trunk was shut. On to the post office we continued.

When we were finished, we realized that there were only seven boxes that had been sent. This made us nervous, because we knew that there had been eight of them when we left. It wasn't until we returned to the office that our front desk lady, Erin, notified us that a gentleman had brought a care package back that he had picked up from the Coralville strip.

To our amazement, the box was entirely untouched. It hadn't been run over, scratched, or damaged. Only one corner was slightly dented where it had impacted the ground when it fell out. The customs sheet was even still in the thin plastic sleeve on the back.

We are profoundly grateful for this anonymous stranger who returned our care package to us. In fact, the box made it back to our office before we did! If you happen to read our blog, please let us know who you are so that we can tell you "thanks!" face to face.

We here at the Iowa Troop Pantry really do value even the smallest miracle and the littlest bit of help from our community.

Warmest Wishes!

-- The Iowa Troop Pantry Team --

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