The Rathdrum Lions Club is asking for donations to fill 50 boxes, which they will pack and mail to military men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“Just imagine running out of lip balm or sunscreen while in the desert with temperatures exceeding 100 degrees,” said Rathdrum Lions Club member and military care-box coordinator Marge Huddleston.
Huddleston said small toys like yo-yos and Slinkies and writing paper and pens provide entertainment and help servicemembers pass the time.
“The military provides the basics of food, shelter and gear, but these extra items just make life a bit easier,” Huddleston said.
Smaller-size containers – to fit in backpacks – of the following items are needed: foot powder, disposable razors, packages of hygiene wipes, sunscreen, bug spray, toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant and shampoo, nonfragrant soap and lip balm with sunscreen. White socks are also needed.
“They have to be white socks because their feet get hot and sweaty and the dye soaks into the skin,” Huddleston said.
Homemade foods, chocolate and toiletry items in aerosol containers cannot be shipped. The chocolate melts in the heat and the aerosols can explode in flight, according to Huddleston.
Nonperishable food items like beef jerky, sunflower seeds, trail mix, instant oatmeal, powdered drink mixes and granola bars are gladly accepted.
Cash donations are also accepted. Checks should be made out to the Rathdrum Lions Club in care of treasurer Norm Heitstuman and mailed to 7987 W. Ada St., Rathdrum, ID 83858.
Last July the Lions, under the leadership of Roxanna Weaver, prepared and shipped the first 50 boxes. Huddleston, who is on the Rathdrum Parks and Recreation Commission and is office manager for the Rathdrum Chamber of Commerce, stepped in when Weaver was unable to continue with the second drive.
Children at John Brown and Twin Lakes elementary schools will write letters that will be inserted into the boxes. Shipping deadline is Feb. 1.
“These care boxes show our troops show how much people back home really care,” said Huddleston.