Canadian Armed Forces members are deployed around the world, hundreds of miles away from their families, friends and country. This distance is palpable for both families and soldiers during the holiday season. To bridge the distance, the CAF offers two methods for families to send their loved ones’ letters or packages for the holidays.
The first options families have is to send parcels through Canada Post.
However, before your package can make its journey to your loved one, there are a few things to keep in mind. It is important to remember that letters must be addressed to a specific soldier and include rank and mission information. Ensure the parcel is wrapped properly using packaging tape. The package cannot weigh more than 20 kilograms, the maximum length is one metre and the maximum length plus girth is two meters. If you are sending an item with batteries, they are required in original packaging.
Any item that is hazardous or can damage other items is prohibited. These items include alcohol, tobacco, weapons and drugs.
Be sure to plan ahead for special occasions. Once an item is mailed, it can take up to three weeks to reach the theatre when mailing with Canada Post.
Don’t forget a Canada Customs declaration form with every parcel addressed to a Belleville PO Box Stn Forces addresses or when sending mail to a deployed HMC Ship.
Canada Post also offers a Free Mail Initiative which allows families and friends to send letters and up to 500 grams to troops overseas free of charge until Dec. 31. Anyone wanting to send mail for Christmas and using a PO Box Stn Forces address must send their packages to Belleville by Nov. 20. Make sure you deposit the letter at a Canada Post retail outlet. Mail deposited in street letter boxes bearing no postage will not be delivered.
The second option for families and friends is to send mail through the Canadian Forces Morale Mail, a cost-free alternative to using Canada Post. However, note that it can take close to a month for a package to reach the theatre since mail is typically sent out once a week. It is encouraged that for expedited or sensitive mail, Canada Post should be used.
Morale Mail can be dropped off either at a Base or Wing MFRC, Mail Room or Military Post Office. Within the National Capital Region Morale Mail can be sent within the internal mail system, be sure to write “Via HCC” on the item to the right of the address.
Senders are encouraged to clearly state their contact information on the package so CAF Postal Service can contact them in case of any concerns.
Friends and family members aren’t the only one that can send letters to troops. Any school or organization wishing to reach out to the troops or send donations can also do so. Instructions regarding this and for more detailed information visit the Canadian Armed Forces website.