Military Resources | Rules / Etiquette

How to Send Care Packages for Troops Overseas – Idiot’s Guide

Inside: Learn how to send a care package to troops overseas. Step-by-step guide is especially helpful for teachers, volunteer organizations, church groups, etc., who want to send a care package to service members but don’t know one specifically. Post contains affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase, at no extra cost to you, I may earn a small commission.

A great way to boost morale during deployment is to send care packages for troops.

Whether you are trying to support your military loved one, or just want to donate to troops and let them know they are remembered, then we have everything you need to know to easily send care packages to soldiers and other troops overseas.

Here’s how to send care packages for soldiers or care packages for troops overseas:

1. Get the deployment address from the service member.

It will contain the military unit and a lot of numbers. Instead of a city and state, it will say APO AE or APO AP.

If you don’t know a service member and want to send a package to a random soldier, you can visit to find a name and overseas mailing address for service members who have requested it.

OR you can scroll to the next section of this post and chose a company to do it for you! You can make donations and orders through the companies below, and they will get it to the service members who need it most!

Pile of USPS priority care packages for troops

1.5. Decide if you’ll put the care package together yourself or have a company do it for you.

If you’re going to put it together yourself, here are two detailed step-by-step guides I’ve created (they will tell you what to put in it, how to decorate, how to fill out the customs form and ship):

Here are some other creative ideas and resources I created to help you make an amazing care package for a soldier, marine, airman, sailor or coastie.

2. Shop online for a theme.

Shop online for a theme that fits your service member’s interests and your budget. Choose from the recommended companies below in this post.

List prices on a care package website include the care package contents. Shipping costs are usually added at checkout. Remember that if you shipped items yourself, the “military discount flat rate” is usually $18 per box. If you find a better deal online, you’re saving time AND money!

3. At checkout, add a personalized note to your package.

Most companies allow you to customize your message, which is a really nice personal touch. If you’re sending a package to a random service member, you can still say something encouraging or thank them for their service.

4. Enter the deployment address, using APO as the city and either AP or AE as the state.

Do NOT write a country like Afghanistan, because all APO addresses are considered to be domestic and treated as a USA address. (To make a donation, you don’t need an address or specific unit. Follow the directions on the website).

5. Sit back and wait for your package to be delivered to the overseas location!

This can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, depending on the military delivery service.

Companies that send care packages to troops for you

If you aren’t sure what to include in a care package, or don’t have the time to shop for supplies and go to the Post Office, then there are several wonderful companies that will do the work for you.

They offer pre-selected care package themes with items that ship well and are approved at deployment locations. You don’t have to worry about things breaking, melting, or being confiscated.

Stacked pile of priority care packages for troops

If you want to donate a package to a random deployed service member, then check out the donation options on these pages listed below. You don’t need to know a service member’s name and address to brighten their day!

Instead, you can donate a package, and these companies will ship it to the units that need it the most. Because they purchase supplies in bulk and often use volunteers to assemble packages, they will stretch your money farther than if you shop and send items yourself.

1. is a nonprofit with a mission to support troops overseas with care packages of food and supplies. You can purchase packages for different branches of service and different deployment situations. The charity makes it easy to send packages to troops you don’t know. When they receive donations, they send out free care packages. Each year, their volunteer packing events prepare thousands of boxes to be shipped overseas to units that need them most. Visit their website to learn more about making donations, volunteering, or purchasing a package directly for your service member.

2. Hero Care Packages

Hero Care Packages: Founded by a former Navy officer, this company fixes care package struggles by offering selections of items that troops actually want and need while overseas. Choose from themes like the Meat Snacker, the Workout Package, or Choco and Coffee.


Amazon has care packages that can be sent anywhere in the world—including APO addresses. If you already have Prime, then shipping is free, and you will just pay for the contents. Choose from a variety of snack combinations that will be welcome to anyone during deployment.

4. offers multiple way to send treats to service members. You can order any product from their site for your service member, and 10% of the proceeds goes into their Nuts for our Troops program. If you can’t decide or don’t know a service member personally, then you can donate the seven-pound snack pack full of healthy treats.

Companies that ship free stuff in care packages for troops

1. The USO

The USO sends free snack and toiletry care package kits to deployed troops. The pouch comes with a M.O.L.L.E. system to attach easily to military gear. An official representative of the unit can fill out a form requesting the service.

2. Hershey

Hershey has partnered with the USO to give troops a taste of home with free chocolate in their care packages! Chocolate treats are notoriously difficult to ship, especially to desert locations where they are likely to melt. But Hershey has carefully selected M&M’s and other treats that are most likely to survive the shipping process. They no longer send individual care packages, but you can support their USO partnership and send personalized messages to troops using the link here.

3. Operation Gratitude

Operation Gratitude is a charity that provides more than 300,000 free care packages every year to service members, first responders, wounded heroes, and care givers. They host collection drives, letter-writing campaigns, and packing events to maximize their impact. Donate to aid their efforts.

4. AdoptaPlatoon

AdoptaPlatoon will sponsor a unit from any branch during their deployment by sending care packages every 3-4 weeks while they are overseas. Nominations must include the name and deployment address of a service member point of contact.

5. Troopster

Troopster allows you to nominate an individual or an entire unit. When the charity receives donations, volunteers pack boxes and ship them overseas. They send out thousands of free boxes every year!

6. Books for Soldiers

Books for Soldiers sends free books, magazines, CD’s, DVD’s and video games to troops deployed overseas. They have been doing it since Operation Desert Storm. Any group or individual can fill out a request on their website to help entertain the troops and improve morale.

7. Operation Paperback

Operation Paperback collects gently-used books and ships them to troops overseas to give them entertainment options during deployment. You can provide a deployment address on their sign-up form.

8. Operation We Care

Operation We Care is an all-volunteer charity that packs up care packages every month to support deployed troops with snacks and toiletry items that are on high demand overseas. You will need the name and address of a deployed service member to request a box, or you can donate needed items to their cause.

9. Dunkin’ Donuts

Dukin’ Donuts will send their Original Blend coffee to deployed service members for free! Fill out a form online with the service member’s name and deployment address to surprise them.

10. Naper Nuts and Sweets

Naper Nuts and Sweets sends 1,000 bags of popcorn each week to military locations through Operation: Caramel Corn. Their care packages also include other snacks and necessary items. You can call them to provide deployment address information.

11. Soldiers’ Angels

Soldiers’ Angels sends a variety of care packages, cards, and support to deployed troops. Their Angel Bakers will send fresh-baked homemade treats to troops overseas

If you’re planning to pack and ship your own care packages, you can get more care package tips here.

Want to print out your own address labels and save on shipping to military APO addresses? Learn about how ShipThrifty is an easy and affordable way to send packages to military locations.

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One Comment

  1. Thank you! My father served. He is Jewish, and dropped out of college during the Vietnam War and joined the army.

    Aside from my brothers and myself I believe it to be his most prized and privileged moment in his life.

    Your blog has helped me tremendously contribute to his legacy.

    Wishing you and yours all the best

    With appreciation,


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