For Americans wondering how to send goodies to US servicemembers, there are some very important `don'ts,' says Susan Templin, manager of the United States Department of Agriculture's Meat and Poultry Hotline. Don't send anything made with pork products or alcohol because of Saudi government restrictions. Don't send anything perishable. Packages take 14 to 20 days to get to Saudi Arabia, according to the Defense Logistics Agency Donations Hotline. Consider items that can withstand the delay, high temperatures, and rough handling. Items low in moisture are highly recommended, so as to avoid mold.

Ms. Templin suggests store-bought cookies; cakes and breads that come in tins or cans; jarred or canned nuts, pretzels, popcorn; beef jerky; dried fruit; hard candy; pre-sweetened drink mixes (sugar-sweetened fare better than artificially sweetened mixes).

Minimize the oxygen by packaging well with such materials as foil, plastic wrap, and bubble wrap.

The Defense Logistics Agency requests that goods sent to ``any servicemember'' be store-bought and commercially packaged. Homemade goods should be addressed to a specific servicemember or unit. Nestl'e Foods Corporation is one company offering ``desert-safe'' recipes (1-800-NESTLES).

For land servicemembers: `Any servicemember'

Operation Desert Shield

APO New York, NY


For ship servicemembers: `Any servicemember'

Operation Desert Shield

FPO New York, NY


For more information:

The Defense Logistics Agency's Donations for Operation Desert Shield Hotline:

(703) 274-3561.

United States Department of Agriculture Meat and Poultry Hotline: 1-800-535-4555.

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