If there is anything we haven't answered, please feel free to contact us!
When was JOSH founded?
Kathy Hewitt began shipping care packages in December 2010. The organization incorporate In April 2011, and filed for 501(c)(3) status. We received retroactive approval in December 2011.
What is 501(c)(3)?
The 501(c)(3) status is an IRS filing status for certain nonprofit organizations. We are tax exempt and all donations made to JOSH are 100% tax deductible.
Where are we located?
We are located in Lake Mary, Florida, just outside of Orlando.
Why was JOSH started?
Kathy Hewitt’s nephew, whose name is Josh, was deployed to Afghanistan in December 2010. She wanted to send him a care package a month, but had no clue what to send since his response was always that he was fine and didn’t need anything. She researched his small outpost, COP Wilderness, and learned he didn’t have a PX where he could buy food or hygiene products. She started shipping boxes to him for distribution to his troop members. Eventually Kathy began finding/supporting more soldiers at other locations.
Where do we ship?
JOSH ships to U.S. service members who are deployed to combat zones. Our mission is to support troops who have no PX/BX or have limited access to one.
We also ship to others who are deployed and simply need a morale boost.
Our tagline is “Bringing Smiles to Our Deployed Heroes One Care Package at a Time” and that pretty much sums up our whole purpose.
What goes in the boxes?
We ship many hygiene items such as baby wipes, body wash, bar soap, toothpaste, deodorant, shaving gel and razors.
We also send individually packaged snacks such as granola bars, beef sticks, sandwich crackers, beef jerky, tuna packs, peanuts, sunflower seeds, coffee, water flavors and other items.
Please visit the Care Package Info page to see a full list of care package items. However, if you are considering donating items, please contact us for a list of accepted items. Due to storage limitations, we accept only specific items for our care packages.
We only send name brands such as Axe, Old Spice, Right Guard, Dove, etc. We want to ship the best products because this is all about building the morale of our deployed heroes. We do not ship sample or hotel size items.
JOSH runs on the principal that if we wouldn’t eat or use something ourselves, we will not ship it to the troops.
How much does a care package cost?
Because of te high-quality items, a typical package cost averages about $60 (including shipping). (Yes we have to pay for shipping.)
Who packs the care packages?
Volunteers prepare care packages monthly. We pack the boxes at the Sanford Moose Lodge or the Disabled American Veterans in Sanford, Florida, typically on the second or third Saturday of each month.
How are the packages funded?
We rely upon donations and fundraisers. We are thankful for all of the companies and organizations who help with our fundraising, provide grants, and donate.
See a full list of our Donors & Sponsors.
No donation is too small and all help is appreciated!
What percentage of funds/proceeds is used for the care packages?
JOSH is 100% volunteer led and operated. The only administrative expenses paid by JOSH are the cost of the website, brochure printing, t-shirts for volunteers, etc. Our goal is to keep administrative expenses low in order to support as many service members as possible.
All Florida nonprofits that solicit donations are required to register with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Please feel free to verify the JOSH program costs/administrative expenses by visiting the Check-A-Charity page on the Florida Department of Agriculture and search for JOSH or Just Our Soldiers' Helpers.
How many packages do you ship/have you shipped?
Throughout 2020, we had planned to ship at least 160 care packages per month as long as funds are available. With the pandemic and decreases in fundraising opportunities we have decided to adjust to 140 packages per month.
In 2019 we shipped 2,650 care packages. The number of packages is not necessarily a relevant unit of measure because of variations in box sizes and how they are packed. For the first several years, we shipped Large Flat Rate APO boxes. Due to increased shipping costs, we now ship Regional Rate B Flat Rate boxes that are 12 x 10 ½ x 5. We pack them to the brim.
As of the end of December 2019, we estimated that JOSH has shipped over 110,000 pounds of food and hygiene products during our tenure.
Who can be added to the shipping list?
We ship to active, deployed service members from all branches of the military. Our mission focuses on troops who are deployed to remote overseas locations with an APO or FPO address. We encourage deployed service members to register on the JOSH website.
Sometimes Soldiers let us know about others who need a “postal pick me up” or who are not receiving mail at all. We add those Soldiers to our shipping list and ship to them regularly for the duration of their deployment provided they confirm receipt of their first care package.
Are your Soldiers only from your local area?
While we do love to ship to deployed troops from Florida, it is not a requirement. We ship to soldiers who are deployed from all over the United States. Sometimes we know which state the units are deployed from, but we normally do not know the individual soldiers' home states.
How many service members are on our list?
We try to keep at least 50 contact names/addresses on our list. Many of the Soldiers on our list share their packages with their platoons so we are usually supporting hundreds of Soldiers at a time.
Do we share address from service member requests?
The short answer is, no. We receive requests from our service members without any implied consent that we have permission to share their information. As a result, we feel it is not our place to do so.
What must the service member do to remain on the list?
We do not require regular communication because many service members do not have the means to contact us easily. However, they must let us know that at least their first package was delivered. If we do not receive this confirmation, we cannot add them to our regular shipping list. JOSH operates on a limited budget, so if we cannot confirm that a service member is actually receiving our mail, we cannot continue shipping to them.
When boxes are returned to us as undeliverable, it can cause the items inside to be wasted, plus we have to pay to ship it twice. If a package is returned to JOSH and we are unable to confirm the address or that the Soldier is still deployed, we remove him or her from the list.
What do we need most?
Monetary donations are great because then we can buy what is really needed. People can help by hosting a fundraiser or even have a collection drive to obtain items. Follow us on Facebook (facebook.com/justoursoldiershelpers) and share our posts so others can learn about us. We do not pay for advertising, so we need help spreading the word.
Do we only ship to deployed service members?
As explained above, JOSH operates on a very limited budget. We would love to be able to ship to all service members who are serving abroad. However, due to limited resources, our efforts are currently focused on US Service Members who are forward deployed to remote overseas locations.
Are we a political group?
No! As a 501(c)3, we must remain non-partisan and non-political.
Contact us if you would like more information.