By CampusDiscovery When I was a kid at summer camp, I remember running down to mail call every afternoon and hoping that my mom sent me a care package. She would fill a box with my favorite cookies and candy, wrap it up in some pretty paper, and seal it with a Hershey’s kiss; I couldn’t wait to tear it open and dig in! On most occasions, she would also include a hand-written letter and special trinket to commemorate my trip. To this day, I fondly remember those packages, which always seemed to come right when I needed them the most. When my own children headed off to college, I was thrilled to keep the family tradition alive and send them a little love now and then. Each child had a distinct personality and personal snack favorites, so it was easy to assemble something that was unique and truly appreciated. At the beginning of each semester, I would send them off with a back-to-school care package filled with essentials, such as laundry detergent, toiletries, printer ink and other necessities. All items were placed in a laundry basket, which could also be used at school; it was practical and easy to assemble. Throughout the semester, I would send smaller care packages for their birthdays, mid-terms, holidays and final exams. If I knew one of them was having a rough time, I’d also send one ‘just because’ and remind them things would get better. Once their friends found out I liked to bake, they began requesting items, too. Over the years, the packages got bigger and bigger, but I was happy to send a little happiness their way. If you have a child who will be away this summer or heading off to college soon, consider sending him or her a care package. It really doesn’t take much; a quick trip to the dollar store can help keep costs down and baking items at home can also reduce your expenses. Just be sure that you pack items that travel well and can withstand changes in temperature. If you’re not particularly good in the kitchen, or find you don’t have the time to assemble everything, consider hiring someone else to do the work. Many services now offer college care packages for a variety of occasions. It may cost a little more, but the smile on your child’s face will be worth it. Here are just a few of the many care package services you can find online. 1. PackageToGo.com This family-owned company provides a variety of care packages and even offers customization through package add-ons. You can pick a basic basket and add additional beverages, candy, baked goods, snacks, and even seasonal goodies. All packages include USPS Priority shipping. Package prices range between $32.00 and $69.50 each. 2. SnazzyGood.com Created by a former college student, this service prides itself on giving students what they really want. Some of the more popular ones include the Junk Food Junkie and Exam Cram care package. The company also hosts a monthly contest where students can win a free package of their choice. Packages range between $44.95 and $59.95 each, and shipping is free. 3. HipKits.com This service, powered by Beyond Bookmarks, offers two sizes of baskets: fun size and ‘funner’ size. A variety of different themes and items can be substituted. For students with special dietary needs, they offer a gluten-free package. You can also add additional items to an existing basket. Prices range between $19.97 and $73.97 each. Shipping is not included. 4. CarePackages.com This website is one of the easiest to navigate. The care packages are organized by holiday, student life, special occasion and everyday needs (dietary, just because, etc.). You can also shop for packages by price. If your child can only eat Kosher items or has a peanut allergy, they have you covered! Shipping prices are based on the total cost of your order. Package prices range from $19.99 to $149.99 each. You can also find lots of inspiration for care packages on Pinterest. Simply conduct a search for ‘college care packages’ and you’ll have enough ideas for the entire year. The best way to make something meaningful for your child is to have him/her provide you with a list of his/her favorite snacks and treats. Put together a list of common items that he/she will also need throughout the semester, such as toothpaste and shampoo. Other fun items to include in your care packages are funny pictures of the family, magazines and video games. Most importantly, don’t forget to include a letter letting your child know how much they are loved and missed. I guarantee they will appreciate it and remember it for a long time to come.