I received this note from a reader and thought we could put our heads together to help her think of something wonderful!


“I’m currently living in Germany where I’m stationed with my husband who is deployed with the 527th MP CO.  They’re returning this summer after a long 15 months away.  My 3 year old and I can hardly wait to have “daddy” back home.  I’m working on a “Welcome Home’ gift for all 44 soldiers.  Many of who are single and will return to their dorm rooms.  If you could help me in coming up with an EASY and CHEAP idea to give to the soldiers I’d greatly appreciate it.  Remember I’m in Germany and I don’t access to many materials like I would if we were in the states.  If you’re able to help me out in any way I’d be VERY thankful!!”

“I think the number one thing they’ve missed is comfort!  But my husband is looking forward to going to the fridge to grab whatever he wants.  They’ve been limited to food since the area they are deployed is without a Shopette or PX.  So all the snacks he has had I’ve sent in care packages.

We actually are getting the keys to the single soldiers barracks so we can go decorate the hallways and clean their rooms. I was hoping to come up with something that we could make ahead of time since we’re not sure when they will be getting back.  I just need HELP and FAST!! “

Please leave a comment if you have some ideas!

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  1. We have actually done this before. We assembled one small basket for their bathrooms, small items such as shampoo, soap, you know..personal items for their bathrooms. And one small basket of snacks per room, things like popcorn, jerky, cookies, cereal, poptarts..things they can snack on until they can get settled and to the store. You may even be able to talk to the local Comm and see about a donation (our Comm gives up to $100) or even your PX for donations of tolietries. When all else fails, make homemade goodies. Set up a table and have greeters for the soldiers when they arrive and pass out homemade cookies, coffee, juice. Since you are in Germany, a lot of soldiers won’t have family to meet them-be their family 🙂

  2. OMG… I met my husband in GERMANY while he was stationed with the 527th in Baumholder!!! We lived on post once we were married! (Back in the 80s!) He just retired last year after 25 years…

    Glad you’re counting down the days until they come home!

    COOKIES… LOTS and LOTS of cookies!!! Maybe nicely bagged and waiting for each soldier in their barrack rooms! Maybe a nice poem attached to each “goodie gift” too… :o)

    WELCOME home to your soldiers!

    lala :o)

  3. Is it totally crazy that WE could make a little something to send to her to give to them – like fabric postcards or something special? Just to say thank you to them? Looks like there are a lot of supporters here, we could make 1 or 2 each to cover the 44? Thank you to all who have served our country and are currently serving!!!

  4. Congrats on getting your soldier back! I am anticipating that in a few months too! We’re also going to go in and clean and decorate the barracks for the single soldiers. We’ll be hanging banners made by families and local schoolchildren. They’re also making cards and letters of appreciation. Every soldier will receive a goody bag filled with baked goods, snack food, trial size soaps and shampoos, etc. The goody bags will have a topper stating “Welcome Home” and a list of the ladies that donated items. I’ve been collecting paperbacks and games to put in the dayroom. Some of the soldiers won’t be taking leave to visit distant relatives so they can take a book or use the games as they wish. Hope some of these ideas help.


  5. as far as resources go… have you tried getting any nat’l usa companies to send you something? Like Nabisco to send a couple cases of oreos or something? Either directly OR if there is a Walmart there would they donate? Or if a food service company provides any food shipped from USA could you solicit donations thru them. Or soap donations? You have a very worthy cause, I should think it would be hard for someone to say no! Good luck & thanks!

  6. I agree with the folks suggesting baked goods and snacks. Here’s a nice recipe that makes a ton of seasoned crackers with a spicy kick. Everyone I know love these and they are cheap and easy to make.

    1 ½ cups canola oil
    1 envelope Ranch Dressing Mix
    2 heaping tablespoons crushed red peppers
    3 ½ packs Saltine crackers
    Combine canola oil, dressing mix, and red pepper in a large container or Ziploc bag. Add crackers and roll container/bag until mixed well.

  7. Wow a big hug and thank you to all of YOU AND YOUR HUSBANDS!!! We appreciate all you do! I would try to jot an e-mail to Target and Walmart, they are very very generous with donations… they may just send you needed items or gift cards for when they arrive home! I agree with Kristi, don’t try to take this all on yourself! The most important thing will be that they feel someone is glad to see them and have them back…. These guys need lots of hugs!

  8. I grew up as an army brat and My family stationed in Germany for the first 7 years of my life. At that time my parents constantly talked about how they wanted soda pop. It may be easier to get there now, but back then it wasn’t. So that would be my suggestion. Also I remember eating out there being fairly inexpensive. So gift cards for little local restaurants would provide a good meal or two and some restaurants may be willing to throw in some free coupons for the returning soldiers.

  9. Do you have thrift stores or rummage sales in Germany? It would be neat to add some thrifted (and cleaned) pillows, or other decor to make a room somewhat home-y. Maybe pairing some baked goods with a carton of milk with a new or thrifted mug would be really special. I also really like the idea of getting children involved to make thank you cards. And ask for any donations you can get of soaps, homemade bread, etc. You may get more support than you would expect. Please let us know what you do do!!

  10. What if you gave them Kinder eggs as part of the gift? Is it too childish for the soldiers? I can’t help it, I love those German snacks.

  11. As a former (soon to be again) military spouse with 3 deployments under my belt… here is what we did for welcome home for the last 2 deployments.

    First off get your FRG involved. Have them donate cookies and supplies. Or is there an FRG fund for this? We had a couple of fundraisers during the deployment to raise money for the welcome home party and the welcome home single soldier kits.

    This is what we did:

    Get a big laundry basket and fill it with toiletries (toothpaste, shampoo, toothbrushes, toilet paper, razors, kleenex etc, even a new fluffy towel). We also added junk food, sodas, and homemade cookies. For female soldiers (since we only had two last deployment) we added some really nicely scented Bath and Body work toiletries. We assembled these baskets during the kids sign painting party. Also remembering to make some signs for the single soldiers.

    Some ladies from the FRG went to the barracks to clean it up, place the gift baskets and make up the beds for the single soldiers. Also hanging up welcome home signs for them.

    We also got a “hugging group” from a local church to come to the welcome home. They are basically just some loving folks who come to welcome home ceremonies specifically for the single soldiers. I would think that since you are in Germany, family members won’t really be able to make the flight for the welcome home. So getting a group of people whether they be other spouses from post or what have you together to welcome home the singles soldiers would be great!

    Mostly I would say don’t take it all on yourself, get the FRG and rear d involved, neighbors and friends. Whomever you can rally to help you. You’ll have plenty to do before hubby comes home!

    Congratulations that you’ll be welcoming your soldier home soon!

    And forgive me if I repeated anything. I know I probably did. But I didn’t get to read everyones responses.

  12. As a military wife and having been through several deployments, I just wanted to cast my vote for the BBQ idea, like maybe the first Sunday after they get back. Sundays can be very lonely for people who don’t have families to return to. They’ve spent the last 15 months being told what to do, when, and where to be. They are so used to being scheduled that when they get back and have free time they have a hard time figuring out what to do with themselves. If you left them all some sort of printed invitation in their rooms, it would give them something to do at a specific date and time and in a comfortable setting. Plus those guys have been on REALLY crappy chow hall food and MREs for a LONG time. If you pulled your money, you could grill up some German Bratwurst pretty inexpensively. It wouldn’t take much, they appreciate anything done for them out of kindness.

  13. all those foods and cards, whatever you chose, in a cute goodie bag is cuteeeeee. handmade one of course.

    everyone loves goodie bags lol. sorry not really helping here but then most great ideas were posted and i don’t really have any.

  14. Cake Mix Cookies are easy!

    A ‘snack pack’ would be great! Chips, dip, pretzels, candy… stuff like that.

    A journal

    Toothpaste, deo, soap, shampoo… etc..

    Signs made by kids for the door

    Fun idea!

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