Information About Sending Holiday Care Packages to Military Personnel

Melody Symanski talks about the public response to her care package program.
Melody Symanski talks about the public response to her care package program.

Reporter: Chad Sewich

If you're sending a care package, you may want to make you list and check it twice. Restrictions on what can and cannot be sent to military personnel overseas is tight.

Even so, a local woman, who we've been profiling on, has taken it upon herself to collect and send packages to our troops.

Most days, Melody Symanski has her hands full chasing children in her home day care. But Melody has taken on a new project. "I just want to keep the morale high." Three weeks ago, Melody began collecting food and supplies to send to troops overseas. "So I went out and bought a whole lot of stuff, but I just can't afford to keep buying all this stuff, so I just started asking people for donations."

And contributions from friends, family and strangers have trickled in. Even students from local schools have helped. Symanski says, "They want to help out. They're sending the right stuff."

But not everyone knows what to send, and customs won't let just anything through. Darryl Chandley with the U.S. Post office says, "Of course, no firearms, no pork or pork byproducts."

Thousands of care packages and cards are sent through the Wabash Station post office in Evansville every week. But even letters to soldiers have newer restrictions. Chandley says, "You can't just address mail anymore to any service member, like the Dear Abby program of years ago. That's a security issue."

There are lots of rules, but here are a few do's and dont's when sending a military care package:
No alcohol or ingredients to make alcohol may be sent.
No obscene materials
No fruit, animals or plants are allowed.
Religious considerations dictate no pork or pork products, and every package or letter must have a specific address and name.

Of course, we don't want to discourage anyone from sending these care packages, which is a time-honored tradition for American troops.