With the holiday season approaching you may be thinking about decorations, presents, and holiday fun! Those are all wonderful ways to celebrate the holidays, but do you know what we think makes the holidays even better? Giving back and spreading joy! This month we’re encouraging you to give back and spread joy to some people who devote their lives to giving back…our troops! 

Troops who are deployed overseas spend a lot of time away from their families and communities. One of the best ways to help them feel connected to the ones they love is by sending them care packages. Care packages are especially appreciated around the holiday season to keep spirits up and help troops celebrate this magical time of year. We’re encouraging you to bring holiday cheer to our troops by organizing a donation drive! 

Donation drives are a great way to not only get your family and friends involved in giving back but to reach out to your community for help as well. Maybe you belong to a girl scout or boy scout troop, dance studio, or sports team? These would be great places to start a donation drive! Your neighborhood or school would also be wonderful choices! Before starting a donation drive in a specific place, such as a dance studio or school, be sure to talk to someone in charge to make sure it’s okay to put a donation box in the front office or lobby. 

Items Needed for This Month’s Campaign

  • Large Cardboard Box
  • Poster or large piece of paper (for instructions)
  • Any holiday decorations you might want to add to make your donation box stand out

How to Do this Month’s Campaign

  1. Write your instructions for your donation box. Include:
    • What you are collecting (stockings, non-perishable food, personal care items, holiday notes/cards, etc.). Be sure to include a note “newly purchased or very gently used items only”
    • The date your donation drive ends (this is the date you need to pick up your items to ship in time for the holidays)
    • Where you are sending your items – to the troops! 
  2. Collect your donated items and of course, add your own donations!
  3. Deliver the donated items to an organization in your area sending care packages to troops (easily found with a quick google search)

If you do not have a local organization to donate your items to below are a few resources. *Be sure to read their regulations in regard to donated items before you ship! 

Orange County LOCALS! 

The YMCA is collecting donations through November 20th at their YMCAOC Child Care locations and fitness facilities! Click here to read more about their donation drive and how you can help! Below is a list of items needed through their donation drive (it’s also a great list for donation ideas no matter where you live) 


CONSUMABLES: Candy canes • Starbucks Via® coffees – our troops’ favorite! • Peanut butter or cheese & crackers snack packs • Cup of Noodles® or Easy Mac® macaroni & cheese • Starkist® tuna & crackers snack packs • Nature Valley® Sweet & Salty Peanut bars • Gatorade Propel® dry powder packets for water bottles • Cliff® Bars/Protein bars

ESSENTIALS: Christmas stockings, 7” wide x 19” long • Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss • Chewing gum • Hand warmer packets • Socks • Pocket or purse size package of baby wipes • Letters and Christmas cards, addressed to “Dear Armed Forces” 

INDIVIDUAL SNACK PACKS: Assorted bags of nuts • Dried fruits/raisins • Cheez-Its® or Cracker Jacks® • Trail mix • Sunflower seeds • Beef jerky/Slim Jim® • Corn Nuts® • Store-bought cookies

Reflection Questions

  • How do you think the troops will feel when they receive your care package items? 
  • What is your favorite tradition for giving back during the holiday season?