I Hope The Chaplain Likes To Party

I didn’t mean to send a New Year’s Party in a box to an Army Chaplain, but that’s what happened.

New Year's Party care package

New Year’s Party care package. The “beer bottles” are noisemakers.

I had just shipped the box when I learned that the soldier it was meant for got sent home for a health problem (don’t worry, he’ll be okay). So how do I know it’s headed for the Chaplain? Because when you fill out the customs form, you have options if the package is undeliverable. They are: 1.Treat as abandoned, 2. Return to sender, and 3. Redirect to address below. I always check the third box and write: Chaplain.

Mishap Upside

When I thought about it, I realized that if I knew the soldier’s info the day before, I would not have made the box. The whole reason I wanted to do a New Year’s care package is because I missed the Christmas shipping deadline for him (Dec 3rd). However, if anyone knows of a service member who needs a morale boost, it’s the Chaplain.

The truth is—the holidays are not happy for everyone. There is loneliness. Why else would a woman go on Craigslist to try to rent a mom and dad for a few hours for the holidays? There are life stresses; all kinds of pain, and none of those challenges are made better when you add a few thousand miles and gunfire. On top of that, events may occur in combat zones that can break your heart.

What if the Chaplain knows service members who feel forgotten? Or have no one at home to assure them they are loved? Perhaps an impromptu “party” hosted by a stranger is a way to add some joy to the New Year. Along with the Beer Nuts, noisemakers, poppers, and decorations, the box also contains superhero pop-rocks candy, popcorn, glowstick bracelets, chocolates, and other treats. Technically, none of these items have any curative powers. But perhaps the care they were sent with has a little.

Or maybe, hopefully, thankfully, miraculously, everyone is healthy in body and spirit while they are missing a loving home. A party is a good idea then too. I think when a Chaplain hands you a beer bottle noisemaker, you have to smile.

Right now

If right now you or someone you know is feeling hopeless or in crisis, there are places to find help for both service members and civilians.

Veterans Crisis Hotline and Military Crisis HotlineThey also have phone numbers on their site if you’re stationed in Europe or Korea. Call 1-800-273-8255 and service members press 1. Vets can also text “838255” for support. For civilians, it’s the main number 1-800-273-TALK (8255.) These programs are both part of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. I found this information linked to an US Army Suicide Prevention site, Wounded Warriors, and IAVA (Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America) as well.

Recently, I read these words by someone who overcame dark thoughts and feelings: be gentle to yourself. I liked that idea. We should all reserve a little kindness for ourselves.


For 2014, I wish you all wonderful adventures, joy, and the hope that any mishaps have an upside. After all, things don’t always go according to plan. Maybe sometimes, that’s a good thing. Happy New Year!

© Gina left the mall, 2013

20 thoughts on “I Hope The Chaplain Likes To Party

  1. Happy New Year, Gina! Wishing you a year of peace, health, and joy! Though there are some religious faiths that frown upon partying, I think most embrace the idea of celebrating. As you wrote, a chaplain is a regular person whose job it is to counsel and offer spiritual support. I guarantee your care package will bring a huge smile…obvious caring and considerate acts can only bring joy. 🙂 This is a comical twist to the tale of this care package!

    • Thank you Wendy and very Happy New Year wishes to you too! I hope that whatever faith this Chaplain is, he or she recognizes that my intent was to lift a soldier’s spirits. So our goal is a shared one even if our methods may differ. I thought it was kinda funny that out of all the packages I’ve sent, this is the one that gets “redirected.” Glad it made you smile too.

  2. Maybe your package did go to the right person at the right time but you didn’t know it at first. God knows that the chaplain might have needed a much needed boost to his day. I’m sure he had a good laugh and enjoyed the moment. It’s also a funny story that he can tell others to give them a lift too.

    It’s been a pleasure popping over here Gina. Wishing you a very Happy and blessed New Year.

    • RPD, Maybe it did reach the right person, maybe it did. 🙂 I hope a few people over there got a laugh over this. Then this care package was a success after all. Thanks for popping over and I wish you and yours a happy and blessed New Year as well!

  3. This post made me laugh. I know a few preachers who might frown on this type package, but most of the ones I know would get a big kick out of it. And I know that the ones overseas will see that it’s put to good use. Thank you for what you do for our troops! I’ve been following you for awhile via Soldiers Angels, but I don’t think I’ve posted on your blog before.

  4. Gina, I imagine Army Chaplains are pretty gritty folks and not easily shocked or offended. I’m sure he’ll see the humor as well as the kindness and caring in your package. Wishing you and Sofia a happy and peaceful New Year.

  5. Gina,

    I am always humbled by your continuing honoring of the troops. Thank you for everything that you do. I am going to forward this post to a chaplain friend of mine so you can have a expert answer to your question.

    Until then I wish you, your daughter and your loved ones a wonderful New Year. You have earned it!

  6. I have a feeling that chaplains enjoy partying just as anyone else, maybe even more. I can only imagine how difficult the holidays are for soldier engaged in active duty, being separated from their family and friends. I know your thoughtful and creative packages provide a sense of home away from home for them. Happy New Year to you, Gina!

    • If you’re right about the Chaplains, then this package really did wind up where it was needed most 🙂 I’m sure it is tough for our military families every day but I think the holidays, with all the focus on togetherness, can make absences even more pronounced. It’s nice to know there a things we can do from home that can help that, even if it’s just a little bit. Happy New Year!!

  7. I think it’s great you send them to Chaplains!!! I have a friend who is a chaplain and he’s told me a bit about his job. It is hard!

    • Well, I didn’t send this package to the Chaplain on purpose..lol. But I think it’s a wise back-up plan. Much better than choosing destroy or have them spend the time and resources to send it back to me. On occasion, I have answered a Chaplain request. Usually it has been after some terrible event and it is to aid the survivors. I can only imagine the strength it takes to try to hold others together in the most trying of times.

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