Donations may be packed in a large Priority Mail flat rate box available from the U.S. Postal Service, measuring 12 inches by 12 inches by 5.5 inches.
Recommended donations include clothing such as tan T-shirts, flip-flops, white and army green socks and blankets. Recommended healthcare items include toothbrushes, toothpaste, saline solution, gauze, cold medicine, Gold Bond foot powder, Chapstick, Ben Gay, Icy Hot and Q-tips.
Snack items may include beef jerky, dried fruit, Pop Tarts, hard candy, fruit roll-ups, tuna in a pouch, gum, mints and powdered drinks. Packages should not include glass or pork products.
Morale boosting items such as DVDs and recorded music, disposable cameras, pens and paper, batteries and hand-held or board games. General supplies are welcome, such as duct tape and Super Glue.
A local retired first sergeant, who wishes to remain anonymous, is again coordinating the effort. He recommends including a patriotic July 4 card in each box.
A special challenge has been issued to participate in this drive to all political candidates running this year by Gary Schad, one of the candidates for northern commissioner of Barry County.
"I would like to challeng, not only the candidates I am running against, but all those seeking public office to come up with 10 boxes for the Shoeboxes for Soldiers 4th of July campaign," said Schad.
"In each box I raise I intend to include a letter informing them of the office I am seeking and a heartfelt thank you for their defending my right to do so," Schad said. "These soldiers do not ask for much. While this is a just a small token of gratitude, I feel it is important to recognize them and make sure they know what they are doing allows this country to keep moving forward."
"I am really excited about the challenge Gary has issued to all those seeking election or re-election," said the retired first sergeant. "I think this is a great way to show our troops serving abroad how much we value our freedom especially in this election year. I would also like to encourage the youth in schools, churches, and organizations to write to our troops and put together a box."
The boxes cost $13 to mail overseas. Boxes may be delivered, with funds to cover postage, at the National Guard armories in Monett and Pierce City, at UMB Bank in Monett, or to a Family Pharmacy location in the Springfield area. More details are available at www.shoeboxes4soldiers.com.
Anyone having the address of somewhere serving presently in Afghanistan can submit the information at the webpage.
"Thanks to all those who have helped in the past," said the retired first sergeant. "Let's show Springfield and the Ozarks how Barry and Lawrence County get things done. For questions or to get involved on the local drive, call 417-389-0517. A special thanks to all our current service members defending our freedom and all the Veterans who served before them."