Sending A Little TLC.

Yesterday, Bolta brought to our attention the interesting tidbit that our soldiers need to cough up for their own life insurance.

The comments at the original article are enlightening. While plenty of pundits are outraged, there are also a few who don't seem to get the issue.

they get paid enough, what's their risk compared to a lowly paid cop.

True, Saint George of Brisbane. It's not like Mt Gravatt is any less dangerous than Afghanistan now, is it?

Then we have the remarkably astute Rex of Camp Hill:

JohnP (6) You say "..Govt SHOULD and MUST pay for life insurance". By that, you mean taxpayers?? These boyscouts are already overpaid for doing bugger all.

Boyscouts? My girl's in Scouts, and I don't see her roaming around Iraq trying not to get blown up, or the same in East Timor or Africa.

Why should I, through my taxes pay for diggers insurance? I did not ask them to take a job with the army/airforce etc. My employer (state government) does not pay life insurance for me, nor do I ask for anyone else to do it for me. Suck it up and pay it out of your own pockets. The Australian people are not going to add this to all the other perks you lot get for serving overseas. Remember, you chose that lifestyle, you were not forced. And before all the mums etc get on the band wagon, I honestly believe that we are sending troupes out to fight wars that are not of our making. We are only propping up other countries.

From mates of mine who've served overseas, I don't know a whole lot about perks. I've heard of the heat, and the boredom, and the tension and lack of sleep, and missing home.

Some perks.

In the comments at bolta's, Boy On A Bike pointed out something that really does need a bit more publicity than it currently gets.

Did you know that if you are in Australia, you can send a care package to a soldier in Afghanistan for free?

I did learn of it a while back, but didn't take advantage of that until easter when I sent easter eggs and other goodies over.

Slack of me, I know - I have tended to send stuff to people I know personally.

Unfortunately, not all of our guys and girls have anyone to send the things and just let them know that they are thought of and their work appreciated.

If I'm getting off my arse, it's about time others did too.

So many people like to put down America and how they act like they're so good, well when it comes to showing appreciation for their troops, they are light years ahead of us.

Let's have a look:

Soldiers' Angels
Any Soldier
Operation AC
Wounded Warrior Project
Project Valour-IT
Homes For Our Troops

These are only a few off the top of my head, and yes, I know they have a population of 300 million.

That's not the point.

They are our men and women in harm's way, so we should support them.

I've started making enquiries about what is appreciated, but as a starter kit, how about:

Via one source:

Lollies, small fruit cake, muesli bars, small deodorant, small sultana packs, soap, hand lotion (antiseptic type), ANZAC biscuits, short bread, vegemite and peanut butter.

Australiana is also popular for trade purposes such as pins of Aussie flags, kangaroos etc

Via source #2:
Snacks - nuts, chips, BBQ Shapes etc, Twisties, Cheezels - all are good, they'll be shared out among the Aussie contingent when we play cards of an evening.

Biscuits - other than Anzac bikkies. It takes about 3 weeks to get here, and often sits in quite hot warehouses on the way. Butternut or other types are good, even chocolate bikkies (not iced ones though)

Sauces and condiments - tomato sauce, BBQ sauce, asian sauces, Tabasco etc - We're mostly good for this stuff. The PX stocks most condiments.

Spreads - vegemite, peanut paste, jam, marmalade - Peanut Butter!!! The RSL sent us a heap of Vegemite (with ANZAC Bikkies and real knitted socks).

Drinks - Milo, tea, coffee - Again, the PX stocks most of this stuff, no Milo though.

2 minute noodles, packet soups - Rolled gold! All good. Also good would be those Continental meal sachets. We are cooking our own food, and some variety would be a bonus.

Chockies - violet crumble, picnic, polly waffle - Not likely to travel very well.

Minties or other chewy things - See chips etc.

Staminade/Gatorade powder - A good idea. Might be a bit bulky though.

Cereals - weetbix, just right etc - No milk. They get fresh milk in Khartoum, but out here it is all powdered.

Magazines: Ralph, Top Gear, motoring or fishing mags. Home decorating and gardening (if you're into that) - Boys mags (not stick). 39 PSB send us some, but they tend to be Take 5 and New Idea, I suspect the guys in Khartoum are taking first dibs on what comes in - can't blame them I guess. The one female here is well catered for. Mags like Ralph and FHM should pass the "not stick" rule, and still give us the necessary ammunition when we brag to the other nationalities about how much better looking our girls are.

For a few extra bucks when you go shopping, I don't believe that it is all that difficult to put together a small pack that you can send for free.

I also like to send those biodegradable toilet wipes. I'm the biggest fan of baby wipes out, and these ones have the added bonus of biodegradability, which can only be a Good Thing.

The Robert Timms coffee sachets as well are something I have a stash of in the cupboard.

I don't have scales, but I add up the weights on the pack as I go, and can generally get it to within a cooee.

You can buy boxes to pack from the post office, or recycle boxes. I buy from, and so I have a nice supply of boxes that are the perfect size. Two or three books at a time works best in the box department, or else shoe boxes. Nothing that can't be sealed with a bit of packing tape.

So, if you do decide to do like I have and get off your backside and down to the post office, where do you send?

I've only one address so far, and that's for Afghanistan. You can send to:

“An Australian Soldier”
Op Slipper
Australian Defence Force

In my experience, contact from home is the most longed for thing, but a few other goodies can only help.

And besides, it's free to send!

Email me if you want to know more.

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