care packagesA care package is a package or gift basket that is filled with useful items that are intended for a specific person or group of people. These people are often in out-of-the-ordinary situations that may be dangerous, unpleasant or just different. Care packages are often associated with the military and personnel who have been sent to foreign locations during times of conflict. They are however, frequently given for other reasons as well. Parents may send care packages to their kids in college. Following disasters, people may collect and send care packages to victims, or they may be given as a way to help people who are hospitalized or ill. Items included in these packages or baskets are often varied and depend on the circumstances of the recipient. Before sending out a care package, it is important to understand what is needed, what is acceptable, and how to go about sending it where it belongs.

natural disaster care packagesNatural Disaster Victims

Natural disaster victims are people who are victims of natural occurrences such as flooding, hurricanes, thunderstorms, and earthquakes. These types of occurrence can happen at any location around the world, leaving people without shelter or food. People not affected by natural disasters often want to send care packages in efforts to help the victims. The most reliable way to do this and ensure that the care package reaches its destination is to send it through an area church or other charitable organization such as the Salvation Army. These organizations are equipped to support people in disasters and often send supplies in bulk. They may have specific items that they want put in care packages, such as sealed bottled water, blankets, and toiletries. Before preparing care packages, it is important to call the different organizations. This will ensure that they accept care packages and "in-kind" gifts. This is important as certain organizations, like the Red Cross, do not accept care packages or any items other than donations of money.

military care packagesTroops Overseas

Our country's service men and women are often sent overseas to locations that are isolated or in conflict. These individuals appreciate the contact and sentiment associated with care packages. If sending a care package to a particular person, it is best to ask him or her what can and cannot be sent. This will typically vary and will save the sender from receiving a returned care package. There are also numerous associations and organizations that have made it their business to help send care packages to military members overseas. These organizations will list an address where people can send their packages or a person may be able to request that they send a prepared care package in their name. Common items that are often allowed or found in care packages for military members includes items such as brown, tan, or green socks, knit caps, toothpaste and toothbrushes, deodorant, lip balm, handheld games, batteries, and boxed cookies or cereal, etc.

Hospital Patients

People spending lengthy periods in a hospital may also feel isolated from the outside world. This isolation is compounded by fear for their illness, particularly in patients that are being treated for serious and potentially life threatening conditions such as cancer. A care package for an adult or child who is a patient in the hospital is often a welcome gift. Before sending a care package, it is imperative that the hospital is contacted and verification is given on whether or not care packages are acceptable. Certain areas in the hospital may not allow certain types of gifts or other items that may be found in a care package. Once it is determined that a care package can be sent, find out what items are acceptable and what items should not be placed in the basket or package. This will also depend on the status of the recipient. Common items that are allowed in care packages for hospital patients include socks, an extra pair of pajamas, a robe, baby wipes, dry shampoo, a toothbrush and unscented lotion, an extra blanket and some form of entertainment, such as books or magazines. Gift baskets are easily delivered in person, or for people who are living in another city or state, gift baskets may be ordered online through businesses that specialize in gift delivery.

homless care packagesThe Homeless

There are many Americans who are homeless in this country. Often they are homeless through no fault of their own, but are rather victims of circumstance and bad situations such as the loss of employment or illness and high medical costs. The homeless may include veterans of wars who were unable to obtain employment or who were unable to cope with life following their time of service. It also often includes entire families with children. Abused women may also eventually find themselves homeless if they must flee and have nowhere else to turn.

Churches and private organizations are common ways to help the homeless and they many regularly create and distribute care packages. One way to get care packages to the homeless is to donate the supplies and then allow these charitable organizations to distribute them. Another way to donate is to do so independently. A person can easily purchase low-cost items and place them in bags such as backpacks or shopping bags. When a person encounter a homeless person, he or she may present them with the care package. Good items for a homeless care package include basic, essential items that people often take for granted, such as soap, toothpaste and toothbrushes, and combs. Homeless people also need items to help keep them warm at night and during cold weather. Tarp can be included in the package to help them create shelter from the elements. An inexpensive blanket will help them to keep warm and protect them from exposure. Gloves, socks and caps are also useful in keeping extremities warm and protected. Even umbrellas can be purchased for little to nothing. Canned and non-perishable food should also be included in care packages. Plastic forks and spoons, and if giving canned food, a can opener should also be included. Even a book is useful in a care package for the homeless as it will help stave off loneliness and boredom.

Homeless/Shelter Animals

Not only do people need care items, but animals do as well. Homeless people often have an animal companion that they must feed and care for. When preparing a care package to pass out to homeless individuals, include items for people with pets. These items may include a toy, a dog bone, and canned or packages of dry dog food. Shelters that adopt out animals also may have a need for care packages as they are often running on limited budgets. Before giving a care package to a shelter, contact them and ask what items would be the most useful. These packages may include chew toys, animal food for cats, dogs, etc., leashes, collars, litter boxes, blankets and feeding bowls. When contacted, the organization will also tell the caller where to send the care package.