Iowans who have loved ones serving in the military in Iraq, Afghanistan and other distant places around the globe might want to get those holiday cookies baked and gifts wrapped. The first deadline for dropping packages in the mail is next week, according to U.S. Postal Service spokesman Richard Watkins.
“We’re looking at those holiday mailing deadlines for cards, letters and packages and the first one is the most economical way to ship and that’s coming up on Friday, November 13th, just a couple of days after Veterans Day, the most economical way being parcel post.” Watkins says getting a package from home can really be a big morale boost for the soldier, airman or sailor overseas and it doesn’t have to cost you big money if it’s sent out soon.
“Prices go from $4.95, our medium box is $10.35, and the best value, particularly for those who are shipping items to loved ones at APO and FPO addresses, is the $13.95 large Priority Mail flat-rate box, for which you receive a $2 discount, bringing the total to $11.95, if it’s going to an APO or FPO address.” Those abbreviations are military code for Army and Fleet Post Offices. Watkins says the Postal Service is also offering what it calls “Military Care Kits” for free.
Go onto the Postal Service’s website at USPS.com and click on the “Support Our Troops” link. The free kits include: two “America Supports You” large Priority Mail flat-rate boxes, four medium-sized Priority Mail flat-rate boxes, six Priority Mail labels, one roll of Priority Mail tape and six customs forms with envelopes.
Watkins says certain items are restricted, including alcohol, perishable foods and anything flammable or toxic. The website also details those things. Items sent after the November 13th deadline may still make it to their destinations before Christmas. Watkins says you can send items into mid-December and likely will still have them arrive before December 25th, but the costs go up as the weeks pass.