My daughter has a friend that is still away at college. He had come home for the Fourth of July holiday and had mentioned how he really misses home when he’s away. So, my daughter came up with the idea to send him a care package when he went back to school.
This care package started off as a way to make someone else’s day, but we had so much fun putting it together. We sat down and decided what to put in this package. The first thing that came to mind was food. Food is pretty comforting when you’re missing home.
When she asked what he liked, of course, chocolate chip cookies were at the top of the list along with “real” food. So, we made some cookies. I normally try to stay away from baking in the summer, but you guessed it, we spent the evening baking cookies. As we did this, I enjoyed watching the joy in her eyes as we laughed and made cookies for someone else (of course, a few cookies didn’t make it into the care package). We also bought some beef jerky and some easy to fix stuff like spaghetti noodles with canned sauce.
We made a trip to the store and thought about what a kid at college might need, but doesn’t really think about. So, the mom in me kicked in and we bought things that would make a little medicine kit: pain reliever, Band-Aid’s, antiseptic ointment, allergy pills, vitamin c, and things like that. We also threw in some personal care items like toothpaste and soap.
My daughter had a great idea to buy a bunch of cards and put them in the packages. She picked out silly little cards that said, “missing you” and blank ones to write little notes of encouragement in. She put those in the boxes and on the envelopes wrote messages on each one that said, “open when you’re having a bad day” and “open just because.” This way, the cards were there right when he needs it. She had a lot of fun writing little notes that she knew would brighten his day.
When we actually put the boxes together, she had printed pictures of things she thought he would like and lined the boxes with them. We put the food in one box and the cards and non-food items in another. We shipped them off and then waited in anticipation for him to receive the boxes.
When we talked about it after we shipped it, I told my daughter that it would have been so much cheaper and easier to just send a gift card to Wal-Mart or McDonalds. Then she got a great big smile on her face and said, “Yes, but that wouldn’t have been near as fun for any of us.”
She’s right. Her friend texted her when the packages arrived. He was so excited to have received all of it. He especially liked the pictures and the cards — he had already opened one.
I really didn’t think a few little items would make such a big impact, but they did. The time spent with my daughter putting it all together was priceless. Making someone feel like they received a piece of home was even better. Little things can make a huge difference.