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October 29, 2007 04:59 pm
Published November 18, 2007 12:02 am - The surge in military personnel that is currently serving in Iraq will cause an expected 200 percent increase in overall overseas mail delivery this 2007 holiday season. Mail to Iraq alone will increase 400 percent over the weekly average during this period. Sme 20 million pounds of mail is expected to be delivered by the U.S Postal Service to military installations, with the second week of December being the busiest.
Time to mail for holidays to military personnel
The surge in military personnel that is currently serving in Iraq will cause an expected 200 percent increase in overall overseas mail delivery this 2007 holiday season. Mail to Iraq alone will increase 400 percent over the weekly average during this period. Sme 20 million pounds of mail is expected to be delivered by the U.S Postal Service to military installations, with the second week of December being the busiest.
The U.S. Postal Service has advised that the last recommended date for mail going to the war zone is Dec. 4, but mail destined to all other international military installations, Dec. 19. Dec. 11 is the mailing deadline for First-Class® letters and cards to troops stationed overseas. All military mail is shipped by domestic mail rate, regardless of the destination. International rates do not apply to military mail delivery.
Here are some tips from Carolyn Ainslie, UGA Cooperative Extension, for preparing and assembling for mail those special food items for troops a long way from home during the holidays.
Foods that ship well include pound cakes, cookies high in sugar and shortening, bar cookies, brownies and fudge. Shortbread, sugar cookies and nut bars ship well. Avoid cookies with perishable fillings such as cream or custard. Fruit and nut fillings work best. Soft, moist cookies will mold quickly in humid climates.
Coffee blends are easy to pack into decorative plastic or metal containers and ship. Dried foods, nuts and dry mixes (spiced teas, herb blends, and party mixes of cereals and nuts) are good choices. Delicate cakes that crumb easily, pies and yeast breads are fragile and spoil easily. If sending cake, do not frost before mailing. If frosting is desired, include a pack of frosting mix or commercially canned frosting in the package.
When sending food to military troops:
8226; Do not send fresh, cured or smoked meat and poultry.
8226; Do not pack food in glass containers or place glass items in with food.
8226; Dry beef, such as beef jerky or beef slims, is safe to ship.
8226; Consider the weather conditions where the recipient is located — how cold, how dry, how hot and humid, etc. — and how the food item you are shipping will hold up.
8226; Consider commercially processed, durable foods such as canned foods like tuna, chicken, and franks and beans.
8226; Commercially packed cakes and cookies in tins cans, fruit cakes and dry cookies like ginger snaps and crackers will hold up well in many weather conditions.
8226; Raisins, apricots and other dried fruits, canned nuts and fruit and commercially prepared and packaged trail mix are also recommended as food gifts for varying weather conditions.
The food gift can be placed in clean boxes, metal food tins or plastic boxes or bags. Then place inside a fiberboard packaging box. When choosing a box, make sure it's roomy enough to allow plenty of packing material on all sides. Start filling your mailing box with a layer of packing material such as newspaper, foam pieces or plastic bubble wrap. Center the gift in the middle of the mailing box. Then overfill the box with cushioning material, making sure there's no air space left in the box. Do not use popped corn or puffed cereal as cushioning packing material, as they attract insects.
Seal the box with mailing tape or filament tape. Address labels should be readable from 30 inches. Cover the label with clear tape. Label the package “Fragile” and “Perishable Food.” These special markings should be in three places: above the address, below the postage and on the back or bottom of your package. (Do not assume, however, that these markings alone will keep your package from getting damaged; inside packaging should be done with the utmost care to minimize damage that can occur to the contents.)