COVID-19 restrictions force military veteran to close candy shop

COVID Virtual Support

COVID-19 restrictions force military veteran to close candy shop

Soldiers’ Angels staff is working tirelessly amid the COVID-19 pandemic to provide aid and comfort to deployed service members, their families, and veterans in need. We strongly believe that it is our responsibility to ensure that No Soldier Goes Unloved, No Soldier Walks Alone, No Soldier is Forgotten, Until They All Come Home.

Learn about Soldiers’ Angels COVID-19 Response Programs Here

In addition, Soldiers’ Angels is working diligently to create and/or adjust our volunteer opportunities to fit the new landscape of this current Coronavirus pandemic. We understand the difficulties of being stuck at home and limiting your contact with others.

And we also understand first-hand how difficult it can be for companies of all sizes to maneuver the challenges of working remotely.

However, these new challenges don’t mean you, your families, or your employees can’t still volunteer!! Soldiers’ Angels has been a virtual-focused volunteer organization for the past 17 years! Join our Team of Virtual Angels and provide support to service members and veterans through this crisis and beyond OR take a look at our virtual opportunities that do not require you to join a team or make a long-term commitment.

Join a Virtual Team

Soldiers’ Angels has a number of virtual “Teams” that were already a large part of our core Programs. Below, we have highlighted a few of those Teams in particular because they require very little supplies or require supplies that are easy to acquire through home delivery, such as Amazon.

These opportunities are part of Soldiers’ Angels core programs and your support will continue through the COVID-19 crisis and beyond. You would need to join Soldiers’ Angels as a Team Angel first, which does require a monthly donation of $1. Once you are an Angel, you can join any one of our 12 virtual teams. Learn more here.

Write Letters

Mail call overseas is a big deal for service members who could use a lift in spirits. Service members love getting mail no matter who it’s from. Letter writing is a lost art form and the perfect activity for boosting communication skills.

Want to write letters? Join the Soldiers’ Angels Letter Writing Team and get into writing mode.

Check out our Letter Writing Supplies Idea List on Amazon!

Soldiers’ Angels also has some branded stationery products that make a great choice for writing to service members and helping them become aware of Soldiers’ Angels at the same time! Take a look at our notepads, pens, stickers, cards, and “Thank You For Your Service” cards here!

Bake Cookies or Other Treats

Baking is a time-honored family tradition.

But who needs all that sugar around when you’re cooped up inside? Why not spend time baking and send it to service members who could use a taste of home? The Soldiers’ Angels Angel Bakers Team supports service members by sending a monthly one-time care package of homemade goodies. Cookies, brownies, cakes, and other delicious treats are always a welcomed surprise.

Check out our Angel Baker Supplies Idea List on Amazon!

Don’t forget your Soldiers’ Angels apron before you start baking! You’ll be the envy of all the other Angel Bakers!! Women’s Apron Men’s Apron

Send Cards

Greeting cards are a fantastic way to let others know you are thinking of them, especially during uncertain times this. The Soldiers’ Angels Cards Plus Team sends a wide range of cards to deployed service members, veterans, and military families throughout the year. In a time of such uncertainty, these cards are ly to have an even greater impact on those who receive them.

Check out our Amazon Idea list of Cards Plus supplies!

Additional Teams

In addition to the great virtual teams mentioned above, Soldiers’ Angels also has the following virtual team options (click the name of the team for full details):

Chaplain Support Team – Support the Chaplains who support our service members.

Deployed Adoptions Team – Support a service member throughout their deployment.

Ladies of Liberty Team – Support female service members with a one-time care package.

Special Operations Forces Team – Support Special Operations and Special Forces service members throughout their deployment.

Adopt-A-Family Team – Support a military family this holiday season.

Baby Brigade – Support expectant spouses of deployed service members and expectant spouses of post-9/11 wounded, ill, or injured service members and veterans by providing virtual baby showers.

Living Legends Team – Support and comfort the loved ones left behind when a warrior falls while in the performance of military duty.

Sewing and Crafting Team – Support veterans, service members and their families by creating handmade gifts.

Women of Valor Team – Support female caregivers of Post 9/11 wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans.

Unique Virtual Opportunities

Without Joining a Team!

These opportunities are still virtual, but you will not be expected to join a team or continue your support. You can provide as much or as little support to any of these opportunities and it does not require the $1 monthly donation the Virtual Teams above.

Go Camo

Soldiers’ Angels Go Camo campaign is a great way to support deployed service members with care packages without joining the virtual Deployed Adoptions Team! Soldiers’ Angels sends hundreds of care packages from our headquarters in San Antonio. We are in constant need of snack, hygiene, and downtime items to fill these care packages. Through Go Camo, you can donate needed items or make a monetary donation that will help the care packages continue flowing downrange.

Collect Halloween Candy

Soldiers’ Angels Treats for Troops collects excess Halloween candy and ships it in by the care package full to deployed troops overseas.

They love to receive the sweet treat and reminder of home! Candy is also shared with veterans at VA Hospitals across the country. If you are a business or organization you can register to become a candy collection site.

Your collection will be listed on our virtual map and, with the help of our marketing materials, you can help your community repurpose that extra candy!

Please note:  Home addresses cannot be registered and listed as collection sites for safety and security reasons. If you want to become a collection site, you must use a business or organization address as your collection address.

If you do not have a business or organization but want to participate as an individual and collect candy from your friends and family, you are welcome to do this and you do not need to register.

Once you finish collecting, you can find a collection site near you or ship to our headquarters address.

Full details on the Soldiers’ Angels Treats for Troops FAQ page here.

Create Candy Bags

We could use your help bagging candy! During a normal year, Soldiers’ Angels volunteers divide excess Halloween candy into gift-sized baggies, tie a ribbon around the baggie and prepare them to be handed out at various events throughout the holiday season. This year, due to COVID, the availability of our volunteers to come together to do this will be limited. If you’re looking for a great activity at home, we could use your help creating these candy baggies!

Here’s what you do: 

  • Get some fun-size candy (or use excess Halloween candy after the big night!)
  • Using a treat bag or clear plastic baggie, place an assortment of candy in the baggie and secure it with a twist tie or decorative ribbon
  • If you would , you can also attach a small card to the bag of candy that has a simple message “Thank you for your service!”
  • Ship your completed baggies of candy to our headquarters in San Antonio:
    • Soldiers’ Angels Candy
    • 2895 NE Loop 410, Suite 107
    • San Antonio, Texas 78218

Holiday Stockings for Heroes

The holidays are tough on our troops. Deployments over the holidays can be the toughest time of year for many of our service members. wise, veterans who have to stay in the VA Hospital over the holidays miss out on celebrations with their families.

Let’s come together and make sure they receive something special! Through Holiday Stockings for Heroes, individuals, businesses, and organizations can collect items and stuff them into a holiday stocking! Soldiers’ Angels will ship the stockings to deployed and deliver them to veterans in VA Hospitals across the country.

Make Holiday Ornaments

Looking for a fun way to keep your hands or your kiddo’s hands busy before the holidays? Make holiday ornaments for deployed service members and veteran patients in VA Hospitals! We will attach the ornaments to holiday stockings that are shipped to deployed and delivered to veterans. If you have pledged to stuff holiday stockings, you are welcome to attach your ornaments to them as well!

Use your creativity and skills to make ornaments! From painted wood ornaments to beaded wreaths and everything in between, your ornaments can be anything you’d . We have a few guidelines below, but otherwise, up to you. Need some ideas? Check out our Amazon Idea List with some suggested DIY ornament kits that can be delivered to your door > DIY Holiday Ornaments Amazon Idea List.

Guidelines: We are anxious to see where your creativity leads you on these ornaments! BUT, please keep in mind, the ornaments will be attached to a stocking that is packed in a box and shipped thousands of miles.

The ornaments you create need to be durable, non-breakable, and able to last through the long journey to their final destination.

Below are some general no-no’s, but for anything we may not cover here, please use common sense in terms of what is able to be shipped and what is not.

• NO glitter. Please… NO Glitter!! • No breakable ornaments • Nothing dangerously sharp • Nothing made food/candy

Once your ornaments are complete, ship them to our office in San Antonio! We’ll take care of the rest.

Ornaments must be shipped to the address below no later than Friday, December 11, 2020.

Soldiers’ Angels Holiday Ornaments2895 NE Loop 410, Suite 107

San Antonio, Texas 78218


What to Send In a Deployment Care Package

COVID-19 restrictions force military veteran to close candy shop

Receiving a care package from home can be a real morale booster for a deployed service member. We’ve come a long way since the beginning of deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan in the early 2000s, and most service members deployed don’t need anything. But everyone loves to get mail!

Choosing and packing the contents of the package will also help you feel closer to your loved one.

Your service member will undoubtedly appreciate anything you send, but some things are particularly useful — and some items can't be sent at all.

Before putting together your service member's care package, find out what they want, and check to see if there are restrictions on what you can send.

How to Send a Care Package

Know the timeline. Priority mail packages typically take about 10 to 14 days to reach their country of destination. But depending on where your service member is, more time may pass before the package is in his or her hands. When choosing what to send, keep in mind possible delays as well as any climate extremes the package may be subjected to.

Check on size and weight restrictions for packages.

Packages cannot be larger than 108 inches in total circumference (total width all the way around plus total length all the way around), but your service member's unit may have its own restrictions on the weight and size of packages.

These restrictions may change as the unit changes location. It's best to limit your care packages to the size of a shoebox. You can pick up free Priority Mail boxes at your post office. Use the #4 or #7 size box.

Include a list of contents. Enclose a cardwith the recipient's name and your name on the card. That way, if the package breaks open and the contents scatter during shipping, mail handlers will know what to repack.

Prevent possible spills. Place items that may spill or leak in heavy plastic zipper-lock bags. Freezer bags work well and your service member will ly find other uses for the bags.

Use reusable packing material. Cushion fragile items with small packages of tissues; copies of the local newspaper; plastic zipper-lock bags filled with popped popcorn; small beanbag-style stuffed toys (for your service member to hand out to local children) or anything else you can think of that your service member will be able to use.

Write out the complete address. The address should include your service member's full name (with or without rank or rating), unit and APO/FPO (Air/Army Post Office or Fleet Post Office) address. Be sure you have the unit name, including the battalion, ship, squadron, platoon, etc., with the nine-digit ZIP code, if one is assigned.

Number your packages and letters. Some may take longer to arrive. Numbering them will alert your service member to letters and packages that are still on their way.

Keep the weather in mind. Don’t send perishables to warm climates during spring or summer. Avoid sending anything that may spoil to a desert environment such as Iraq during warm months. The climate heats up rapidly between winter and spring and the temperature inside mail storage facilities may rise to over 120 degrees.

Make sure you check holiday cut-off dates. If you are sending mail for the holidays, check for the shipping deadlines issued each year by the USPS so you can make sure your package gets there on time.

What Food or Drinks Can You Send?

Powdered drink mix. Your service member will appreciate anything that can be mixed with water. In cold months, send hot beverage mixes such as cocoa, instant coffee, tea bags and creamer. During warmer months, sweetened drink mixes such as lemonade and iced tea will be welcome.

Meal enhancers. Anything that can be mixed with MREs (Meals Ready to Eat), such as ramen noodles, seasoned salt, individual packets of hot sauce, mustard, relish and ketchup.

Quick protein. Energy bars, tuna fish, sardines, non-perishable beef jerky or beef summer sausage. Make sure the meat is labeled USDA Beef.

Snacks. Look for small, hard containers of chips, pretzels and nuts. These are easier to carry than large containers. Avoid bags, which may burst under high pressure.

If you do send large bags or containers, include small zipper-lock bags so your service member can pack smaller amounts of snacks to carry. Snack cakes, cheese crackers and cookies are in high demand.

Salty snacks are good for those deployed in the desert, especially in the summer months, because they will encourage your service member to drink more water.

Candy and gum. Avoid chocolate if your service member is in a warm climate. It will melt in the heat. Gum and other types of candy may soften and become gooey, so send these in plastic zipper-lock bags. Send plenty of extras for your service member to share, especially if he or she comes into contact with children.

What do they Actually Need?

If you find your service member needs essentials, choose small, travel-size containers of personal care products, and avoid aerosol cans. To keep liquids from spilling, cover the opening of the container with plastic wrap, then recap before shipping.

Toiletries. Toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, cotton swabs, shaving lotion, disposable razors, shampoo, individually packaged tissues.

Personal care. Individually packaged baby wipes, eye drops, lip balm, lotion, aspirin or another pain reliever, feminine hygiene products for women.

Foot care. Moleskin, medicated foot powder and athletes foot ointment.

Disposable hand warmers. Send these during the winter if your service member is in a cold climate. Also, fingerless gloves, stocking caps and long underwear are good ideas.

Goggle-style sunglasses. Your service member will appreciate these if he or she is deployed in the desert.

Cotton socks and underwear. Make sure the garments are made of 100 percent cotton rather than a cotton blend.

Extra, Fun Things to Send

In every care package, be sure to include a personal note or other special reminders of home. Photographs, drawings, and DVDs of your activities at home will be comforting to your service member. Here are some more ideas:

  • Your children's art projects or schoolwork.
  • A small scrapbook filled with mementos from home.
  • The Sunday comics from your local newspaper.

Additionally, some fun entertainment may be a good idea, especially if you have extra room in the flat-rate package.

Reading material. Paperback books, current magazines and comic books.

Games. Foam footballs and basketballs, Frisbees, Hacky Sacks, playing cards, yo-yos. Crossword puzzles, word searches, jigsaw puzzles.

Electronics. Portable media player, handheld electronic games. Maybe a disposable camera.

Batteries. Size AA and D batteries are in high demand. If you're sending a battery-operated device, remove the batteries so the appliance doesn't accidentally turn on during shipment. And remember: you cannot ship lithium-ion batteries.

Writing materials. Notepaper, envelopes, pens, pencils and stamps. Maybe even self-adressed stamped envelopes so you’re guaranteed to get something back.

Phone cards. Shop around to get the best deal on overseas minutes.

What can’t you send in a care package?

There may be items you cannot send, depending on where your service member is located.

If your service member is in the Middle East or the Persian Gulf areas, you should not send anything that would offend people of the Islamic faith, including pork or pork by-products, obscene material, religious materials contrary to Islam, anything depicting nude or semi-nude persons, pornographic or sexual items, alcohol, or non-authorized political materials. Check with your Key Volunteer, Ombudsman or command family support group point of contact for details on further restrictions.

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