Order Up—The Perfect Care Package

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Sara Rutherford ’07
Communications Rhodes Student Associate

Every student loves to receive something from home. After a long day of classes and commitments, there is nothing better than walking to the mailroom, opening your mailbox, and discovering that little slip of paper that says you have a package waiting. Whether it’s a freshman spending his first birthday away from his family or a senior psyching herself up to send off graduate school applications, a thoughtful gift or note from home is always a comfort and encouragement.

Sending a care package is a wonderful way for parents to wish their students good luck on exams, congratulate them on a job well done, send warm holiday wishes, or just simply let them know that someone is thinking of them. Care packages can be filled with anything from homemade cookies and family photos to playing cards and video games.

If you’re wondering exactly what makes a great care package, here’s a list of options to consider:

Provisions. College students need lots of energy, and what better way to get it to them than through some of their favorite foods?

  1. Although you can’t send your world famous meatloaf through the mail, you can send homemade snacks like peanut brittle, brownies, and pumpkin bread. 
  2. Lightweight, non-perishables such as beef jerky, granola bars, microwave popcorn, and instant oatmeal packets are healthy options.
  3. Items like tea, instant coffee, and hot cocoa are sure to keep them awake and warm through late night study sessions.

Curbing homesickness. Every student misses the comforts of home and can end up feeling left out if he doesn’t keep up with family and hometown goings-on.

  1. Sending pictures of family, friends, and pets, the latest issue of your community newspaper, church bulletins, or a handwritten letter keep your student up-to-date and make him feel a part of his hometown, even if it’s hundreds of miles away.
  2. Providing a subscription to your local paper, recording a homemade video message, or sending a pre-paid calling card or postage stamps are also ways to keep in touch.

Something fun. Sometimes students need to decompress and get their minds off all the papers, presentations, and tests they have coming up.

  1. Playing cards, cartoons, a book of jokes, a favorite CD or DVD, or a Frisbee in your care package will brighten up your student’s day and provide a relaxing break.
  2. A gift certificate to a Memphis restaurant would allow your student to get off campus, get a bite to eat, and not worry about expenses.

Emergency Supplies. No matter what, some essential personal item is going to run out or be forgotten when your student heads off to college.

  1. Personal care items like Kleenex, shampoo and conditioner, toothpaste, contact lens solution, deodorant, Chapstick, and Band-Aids will never go unused.
  2. Including batteries, gloves or a scarf for when it gets cold, and gift cards to gas stations and large retail stores like Wal-Mart will ensure that your student will be prepared for whatever comes.

Care packages are just as fun to put together as they are to receive. Be creative, and remember, you can put just about anything in your package – it’s not so much what’s in the box that matters. We just feel special getting one.