Deadline for sending military care packages nears

Monday, November 30, 2009 | 4:16 p.m. CST; updated 9:41 p.m. CST, Monday, November 30, 2009

COLUMBIA — The U.S. Postal Service is encouraging residents who want to send holiday packages and cards overseas to servicemen and women to do so quickly.

The deadline to send items to select Air/Army Post Offices or Fleet Post Offices is Friday.

For most APOs and FPOs, the deadline is Dec. 11, according to a press release from the Postal Service.

For AE ZIP 093, the deadline to send Priority Mail and First Class Mail is Friday.

The APOs and FPOs with a deadline for Dec. 11 are:

  • AE ZIPs 090-092
  • AE ZIPs 094-098
  • AA ZIPs 340
  • AP ZIPs 962-966.

Family and friends can ship packages with the Postal Service's Military Care Kit that includes five flat rate boxes, labels and the necessary customs forms free of charge.

The U.S. Department of Defense does place regulations on how these packages should be addressed. Senders must include:

  •  The serviceman or woman's full name
  • His or her unit and APO or FPO address with the nine-digit ZIP Code
  • A return address.

For packages, print the recipient's address on the lower right portion of one side of the package.

The Defense Department also recommends family and friends keep the following in mind:

  • Remove and wrap batteries separately. Battery-operated products can turn on during shipping.
  • Remember desert temperatures can often be more than 100 degrees. Plan accordingly.
  • Cushion contents of the box with plastic foam or bubble wrap.
  • Reinforce all seams with two inch tape, and seal the opening with tape as well, not string or twine.
  • Include a card describing the contents of the package, the recipient's name as well as the sender's. If the package falls apart during shipping, the card can be used to help locate any lost items.

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