Angel Blog

Care packages Save Lives

Becoming a Soldiers’ Angels “Angel” volunteer takes a high level of selflessness. Angels on our teams support individuals they don’t know with care packages, letters, and other items, having no idea if they will appreciate it or not. Oftentimes, Angels may support someone that they refer to as a “Silent Soldier,” meaning they send something and never hear back. It can be discouraging at first. But inevitably, Angels will receive one glimmer of response that will let them know everything they have done has made more of a difference than they can possibly imagine.

They may even come to find out that the difference they had been providing life-saving support. They may even be told, like this Angel, that care packages save lives.

Below is a story that was shared with one of our Angels from a former service member she used to support with care packages:

“Remember how I used to accuse you vehemently of sending the soldiers into prediabetics with all those candies you would send like 50 pounds at a time? I would give them out in the clinic and they would vanish in next to no time only to see another box arrive.

I used to cop so much flak about my “Candy Angel.”

I need to apologize. You see, I caught up with a buddy of mine at the VA and we got talking about being out in the field and he told me that 2 Airhead candies saved a team from being ambushed. He was on patrol— just a normal routine— and gave 2 hungry-looking kids his candy. They alerted him to the danger around the corner… a bad ambush. It would have been bad…

You should not stop being an Angel because in my clinic the hardest part of the deployment was the lack of contact with home. A package sent from a total stranger can lift the morale of an entire tent for a week. A lot of folks back home have no idea there’s a war going on because it’s gone on for so long. Families get caught up in their own lives and find it hard to communicate with long periods of radio silence. Marriages strain and people fall apart with this hard life we have chosen. A lot of the younger soldiers are scared and away from home.

The mental hardships are the hardest to fight. You can deal with exhaustion and hunger and the heat or the cold but it’s your mind which is the greatest enemy.

A lot of kids would get a box in my unit and pretend it was from family – like they had a caring mom or dad back home. There’s a lot of orphans and misfits out here, coupled with the long days and unbearable conditions.

To think a total stranger bought items, packed a box, and took it off to mail to someone they will likely never know brings you to your knees in humbled gratitude. It takes the edge off the boredom as long months seem to stretch out.

COVID 19 has us all but closed down and it is a great comfort knowing my soldiers have something to look forward to. I believe this program saves lives – more than I could ever explain to you. So I take back all that crap I gave you and keep sending that candy… the world needs more angels.”

So as you can see, what may seem like a simple gesture is actually a big deal. Care packages and candy save lives – in more ways than one! If you’re interested in supporting a deployed service member regularly with care packages, our Deployed Adoptions Team would love to have you! Learn more here. If you want to help in a smaller, one-time kind of way, our Treats for Troops campaign is currently running. All you have to do is collect and ship candy to our headquarters and we will distribute it to deployed troops and veteran patients. Learn more here.