College Care Packages

Family
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A personalized care package from home can ease a college students transition to dormitory life, and help maintain the connection to family and friends.

When Brandon Gunzel, of Riverside, Calif., moved across the country to attend college in 2009, his mom, Synthia, periodically sent him care packages.

I was really glad to get food, my tennis racket and a red zip-up sweatshirt Id forgotten, says Gunzel, 19, who attends Western New England College, in Springfield, Mass. Getting a package is great, he adds. Its a reminder that people back home are thinking about you.

Here are some ideas for care package items that are easy on the wallet and simple to ship:

  • Framed photos, drawings or cartoons of the family pet;
  • $5 or $10 gift cards to local pizzerias, ice cream parlors, coffee shops or gas stations; (Contact the schools student services department for a list of nearby businesses.)
  • Blank CDs;
  • Food such as cookies, brownies, popcorn, instant noodles, pretzels, chips, trail mix and packets of instant tea, cocoa and coffee;
  • Silly Putty to hang posters on the walls;
  • Travel-size makeup or toiletry items;
  • Rolls of quarters for laundry machines;
  • Ear plugs to mask the sound of a snoring roommate or a late-night party;
  • A roll of duct tape to bind electrical wires together and fix almost anything;
  • A tiny pin of the hometown mascot;
  • Articles from the local newspaper, especially those about high school, local sports teams or people your child knows; and
  • A favorite stuffed animal or a small new onebecause even a grown child has lonesome moments when good old Flopsy or a new teddy bear are comforting.
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