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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Gifts to Iraq

If you wish to send presents to military personnel in Iraq, Chaplain Lance Kittleson, stationed with the U.S. Army north of Baghdad, has some suggestions.

We don't need lots of extra things to cram into duffel bags already full of military equipment. There's little room on tables for puzzles so that's not the best idea. And most soldiers have access to plenty of hygiene products. One simple gift is fine: a book, a hat, a T-shirt, a pocket game, something small. Include a note from you to the soldier. These gifts are welcome:

 Homemade foods and treats (we recommend air-tight containers lest the fungus and mold eat them before we do).

DVDs (war movies aren't recommended; most of us have our fill of that. Best to send holiday flicks, films with plenty of humor or any "take-my-mind-off-this-place" movies).

Music CDs (holiday and other kinds of music).

Small artificial Christmas trees, ornaments, stocking stuffers of all kinds.

Microwaveable popcorn and other out-of-the-ordinary treats.

These should get in the mail as soon as possible, no later than Nov. 10. If you send your gift to a chaplain, we can figure out a way to get it to the soldiers.

Kittleson's address is:

CH (LTC) Lance Kittleson-2411
HHC 3d COSCOM Unit 91684
CHAP Sect
APO AE 09391-1684

In addition, Mark DeDomenic, chief of postal operations for the Military Postal Service Agency, gives these tips for mailing packages:

The smaller the package, the easier it is to handle and therefore the quicker it moves. Shoe-box sized packages are perfect.

Senders should be specific about what�s inside the package.

Use a recipient�s most recent known address, and place a copy of the address inside the package.

Use strong, sturdy boxes and lots of wrapping. Pack boxes tightly, using packing materials such as popcorn or newspapers to keep contents from shifting.

Use good tape because the desert�s humidity destroys its adhesive qualities. Don�t use masking tape or light-duty transparent tape. Reinforced nylon tape works well.

Don�t install batteries inside electronic items. It can cause security concerns.

Use electronic Web sites or send greeting cards via e-mail (http://anyservicemember.navy.mil/) as alternatives to sending mass-mail cards.

Here are deadlines for holiday mail: parcel post Nov. 13; space available Nov. 28, parcel-airlift mail Dec. 4; priority and first-class letters or cards Dec. 11.

For more information on how to send packages, check www.1ad.army.mil/ or http://hqdainet.army.mil/mpsa.


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