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10:10 PM ET
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Project Valour-IT: Help For Our Heroes

2nd place winner

3rd place winner

If you haven’t yet made a donation to this year’s Soldiers’ Angels Valour-IT Fundraiser, there are still two days left.  Please donate. Every little bit helps a hero.

(Psssstttt.  The Marines are stomping Army this year.  You gonna let that stand?  Donate!)

Oh, okay.  I don’t care which team you donate through.  Just DONATE!

10:39 PM ET

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But I miss him.  I really do.

via AoSHQ

9:37 PM ET

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Soldiers’ Angels 2009 Fundraising Competition for Project Valour-IT beings Monday, October 26, and runs through November 11, Veterans Day.  Pick a team and prepare to make a donation.  All funds go toward providing voice-controlled laptops, Wii video game systems, and hand-held GPS devices for “Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines recovering from hand wounds and other severe injuries.”

Decide which team you want to support (Army, Airforce, Marine, Navy).  Team specific donation buttons should appear at Soldiers’ Angels as well as all the various team blogs by Monday.

4:19 pm ET

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I sent an email out yesterday about the $25,000 social media makeover contest in which Soldiers’ Angels is a contestant.  Soldiers’ Angels has moved up to second place!  In case you forgot to vote (or have more than one email address 🙂 ) consider this a reminder.

SASMM

Pass this around to friends and family and ask them to vote too.  When you help Soldiers’ Angels, you help support the troops.

11:57 am EDT

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I guess it depends on what you’re filling it with.  In this case… (more…)

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Below is a chart from the USPS with recommended dates for mailing cards, letters, and packages to U.S. military personnel overseas so they’re received by Christmas.  (More info here.)  I’m pretty sure our shipping date will be December 4, and that EMMS is not available.

holidayshippingcalendar

Here’s a quick list of care package tips:

  • Use Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxes from the USPS.  They come in three sizes, and they are free at your local post office.  They have a preset shipping cost regardless of weight, which will usually save a lot of money.  When mailing to an APO/FPO address, you’ll get a further discount on the mailing rate.
  • Also pick up free Customs Declaration Forms at your post office ahead of time.  Fill it out at home.  Mark it as a “Gift”.
  • Also pick up free Priority Mail Address Labels.  Fill it out at home.
  • Do not include the name of the country in the address.  Use only the APO zip code.
  • Do not affix the customs form or address label to the box.  Allow the postal clerk to do that.   They have rules regarding placement on the box.
  • Until we find out differently, I do not recommend adding insurance or delivery confirmation as it may hold up delivery of the package by requiring the service member to go pick it up, rather than having it delivered in the field.
  • Follow the rules for Overseas Military Mail on what NOT to send.  (Absolutely prohibited:  alcohol; obscene, nude or semi-nude material of any type; no bulk quantities of religious materials, but they are allowed for personal use; no pork or anything containing pork by-products, so always check the ingredients list on packages.)
  • Also follow the USPS restrictions on Aviation Mail Security & Hazardous Material, specifically: no gases under pressure (ex: aerosol cans); no toxic gases (ex: detergent or cleaning products with ammonia or chlorine bleach); and, no flammable or combustible liquids (ex: acetone nail polish remover or cigarette lighters.  If in doubt, check the charts.
  • Double bag everything, especially food and liquid items, with Ziploc Double Zipper bags.  Freezer bags are thicker and sturdier.  Not only does this keep everything else in the box from being ruined should an item bust open, but the troops use the bags for storing all kinds of things (even equipment) to keep out as much dust and sand as possible.
  • Do NOT send food and toiletries in the same box.
  • If an item uses batteries, remove the batteries and wrap them separately so the item does not turn on during shipping.
  • Tape an index card to an inside flap.  List the contents on one side, and both addresses on the other.  If the box busts open during shipping, they may be able to put it back together.
  • Before taping the box, shake it.  Make sure nothing is moving around.  If it is, add more cushioning (bubblewrap, Styrofoam, or even plastic shopping bags) to fill the sides and any gaps between contents.  During handling, items that shift can puncture or bust open the box.
  • Seal the box with tape, tape, and more tape.  Be sure to tape all corner seams.  Use 2″ wide clear packing or reinforced strapping tape. You can never use too much tape.  It makes the box sturdier, keeps it sealed so nothing gets in (bugs), and discourages customs inspection.  🙂
10:54 am EST

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