CollegiateParent recently hosted a get-together that included nine women, a dozen USPS medium flat-rate Priority Mail boxes (the kind that self seal), and a table overflowing with student-approved treats:
Betty Crocker Mug Treats (microwavable cake)
Gum and Gummi bears
Microwavable Kraft mac n’ cheese cups
Individual trail mix and nut packs
Halfpops (“curiously crunchy popcorn”)
Stickers from everybody’s favorite local bagel shop
Kind, Luna and Clif bars
Mini candy canes
M&Ms and Hi-Chews
Hot chocolate and tea
On our own we couldn't have made such bountiful care packages. And it was a perfect excuse to socialize and share stories with other college parents. We all knew a few other people and in some cases were seeing a friend we hadn’t bumped into in ages, plus we got to make new friends.
It couldn’t be easier to pull together a gathering like this! Especially during finals, your student will really appreciate receiving a box spilling over with goodies…and love.
10 easy steps to hosting your own College Parent Care Package Party!
Reach out to a couple of friends with college students.
Ask each of them to share the name and contact information of a few others who might want to join you.
Choose your date, time and location and send an e-vite.
Explain that each person will bring multiples of a single item (in our case, many of us brought a couple of different things).
Create a Google spreadsheet that includes the parent’s name, student’s name, a space to list any food allergies the student might have, and a space for the parent to indicate what they will bring so you don’t end up with duplicates. Include a list of suggested items. In addition to what’s above, other ideas could be soup or oatmeal packets, lip balm/Chapstick, hand cream, cozy socks, a stress-relief/fidget toy or Post-It notes.
Grab a stack of the free Priority Mail flat-rate boxes at your P.O. along with the mailing labels. You’ll also need scissors, packing tape, pens and tissue paper (we wrapped the clementines in tissue paper, as they were the only perishable/fragile item we mailed — it’s also useful for filling in extra space in the box).
Decide if you will provide food and drinks or if the party will be potluck.
Remind people to bring a card to write to their student or provide note paper or cards yourself.
Take photos to share on social media — you might even want to print out one of the group to include in the box.
Have a blast.
Most of us were the parents of first-year college students but a few boxes went to older siblings and one to a first-year graduate student. After the party, parents can take their boxes home to pop in anything else they want (if there’s room), and then off to the Post Office they go!*
*Postage for the medium flat-rate USPS Priority Mail box is currently $14.35. Using this box will save you money over packing the items into your own box and it will arrive at the destination in 1–3 days. $50 insurance is included in the price.