If you want to send homemade cookies overseas to the military, there are several things you must take into consideration to ensure that your cookies make it to the soldiers intact and fresh enough to eat. Additionally, it is important to note that you must have the name and address of an individual soldier if you want to send any kind of homemade cookie or treat, as mass cookie mailing programs are only allowed to send packaged food items due to military safety regulations.
If you know a soldier stationed overseas, ask him or her for the names and addresses of colleagues so you can send them homemade cookies, especially those who may not have family or get much mail. However, be sure your soldier lets them know you plan to send something, because troops are instructed to throw away food items from strangers.
Place the homemade cookies in empty potato chip cans (such as Pringles cans), if they will fit. If they won't fit, put them in plastic sandwich bags and tie them closed with twist-ties.
Pack the cookies into boxes with plenty of protective packing material, but leave room for a letter or other items you want to send (you can use popped popcorn as packaging material, and some suggest that it keeps baked goods fresher). Shake the box once it is closed to make sure nothing moves--if anything does, pack it tighter.
Tape the box securely closed, and seal all of the edges of the box with more tape. Flat rate priority mail boxes are the best deal and can be picked up free at your local post office--the post office delivers it to the military and then the military gets it to the soldier whenever they get it there, so don't pay extra at the post office since it most likely won't get to the soldier any faster.
Have your box packed and sealed before you go to the post office, and remember to have the name and address of the individual soldier handy. Fill out and attach the correct customs form completely--this is usually form 2976-A, but be sure to double-check with a postal employee depending upon where your package is being sent.
The customs form will ask for the sender's and recipient's names and addresses, and you will have to declare what is in the box, the U.S. dollar value of the items, and what should be done with the package if it is undeliverable. This can be confusing the first time you fill the form out, so ask a postal employee for assistance if needed.
- Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images