September 20, 2022
Most high school seniors headed into their freshman year of college are adjusting to their independence and new experiences. As they stretch out toward a new beginning, it is comforting and assuring for them to know that the people back home are thinking of them and praying for them. A care package is a great way to show your support.
Or maybe your college student has been there for a while, and you simply want to let them know how much you love and care for them in the tangible way.
One of the best ways I know to show our college students love is through care packages. Not only does this make them feel loved, but it gives us an outlet to show how much we are missing him or her at home.
Starting in September or early October, I gather a small group of friends to do a care package group. Each on of us has a desire to be consistent in sending encouragement through the mail.
Here are the specifics of our care package group (you can tailor the specifics to your groups needs, personalities, etc.)
*Moms of college students. We also had some moms with multiple children in college.
*We also counted how many boys and girls there were so that we could get gender appropriate items when necessary.
*Bring one item per student. For example, if someone had two college kids, she would bring two items for every person in the group.
*We did not give a dollar amount on the items but they usually fall around $4-$5.
SET PARAMETERS UP FRONT. Here are some examples:
- No dollar store items
- If you cannot attend that month, send items with another person and have a member of the group collect your student’s items
- Specify allergies or special dietary needs
IDEAS TO PUT IN CARE PACKAGES
- Playing cards
- Chocolate covered Oreos
- Signs for dorm rooms
- Bouncy balls
- Scripture cards
- Hand soap
- Super Glue or Gorilla Glue
- Santa hats
- Christmas lights
- Trail Mix
- Sea Salt Caramels
- Starbucks gift cards
- Antibacterial lotions
- Hand / Feet warmers
- Laundry Detergent
- Quarters for laundry
- Beef Jerky
- Hot Chocolate / Cider Mix
- $5 bills
- Favorite family holiday treats (ie. peanut brittle or cookies)
- Axe spray (for men)
- EOS lip balm or hand lotion
- Microwave popcorn packets
- Stress balls
- Lottery tickets
- Cozy socks
- Athletic socks
- String lights
- Post it notes
- Caramel corn
- Monopoly Deal or other card game
- Skinny Pop
- Carabiner clips
- Room spray
- Comic books
- Chick Fil A gift cards
- Nice writing pens
- Fun cups
- Travel mug
- Charging cord
- Essential oil rollers
- Hair brush
- Hair bands
- Make up
- Nail polish
- Chomps or other beef sticks
- Protein bars
- Cough drops
- Trucker hat
- Tshirt of local favorite
DECIDE ON THE FREQUENCY YOU WILL MEET
After a few years of doing this, I have found 4x a year to be perfect. You may choose more. I usually do the following:
- “Welcome to back to school” fall package
- Christmas / finals package
- Valentine’s “I love you” package
- April “good luck on finals – you’re almost done” package
THEMES BY THE MONTH
OCTOBER – welcome to college
NOVEMBER – thankful for you
DECEMBER – christmas cheer & finals
JANUARY – new year’s fresh start
FEBRUARY – you are so loved
MARCH – march madness about you
APRIL – easter celebration
MAY – finals means you are done!
*I also make a printable for each month for everyone to put in their care package. One of the kids commented that this was her favorite part of the packages. While it isn’t totally necessary, it is a fun addition.
*Bring a bag, a box, or something else to put the items in to take home. Some people like to bring their care package box or a post office box so it’s ready to put in the mail the next day!
WHERE TO MEET
We had each of the meetings at the same house, but you could rotate houses. I would send out a text one week before to remind everyone of the theme, time, gender break down in numbers, and the place.
OPEN YOUR TIME TOGETHER
Every group benefits from an intentional opening. I like to open with everyone introducing what they brought and I pose a question for the group that everyone answers (ie. what is one tradition you doing when your college student gets home)?
OPTIONAL PRAYER TIME
Of course this is a totally optional part of the care package group, but we did offer it for those that wanted to stay. Freshman year can be a challenge for many young adults as they maneuver their brave new world. One of the most helpful things we can do to support them is to pray, and gather other voices to pray. You can choose a verse each time, and focus on that one area, or simply share and pray over specific needs.
“I LIKED THAT!”
When my daughter finished her freshman year of college, she said, “Remember that time you sent me care packages every month? I really, really liked that!”
It’s a small effort to make them feel that steady love from home.
PIN THIS FOR LATER!
Do you sell your packages? They look amazing!
Oh thank you! Not at this time but maybe a future idea 😉
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