Care Packages

Care Packages Beyond The Military

August 30, 2017

Care packages and the military are so closely linked that most folks probably view them as going hand-in-hand. They aren’t wrong: deployed troops probably receive the majority of care packages. But once you get into the rhythm of sending care packages, you start to realize just how many people in your life could benefit from one!

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Military spouses

On one hand, this is the most obvious group to need a care package, but we’re often the ones to get overlooked. Take it from me, deployments (or even shorter term separations) are difficult and sometimes there can be very few bright spots. But getting notes in the mail or a basket of cookies on the porch are definitely bright spots.

Things you could include in a military spouse care package: an encouraging note, a gift card for a meal, a coupon to babysit little ones, a relaxing candle, some chocolate and maybe even a bottle of wine. But really, it’s the thought that counts. Knowing that someone is thinking of you and recognizes that you’re going through a difficult time is so appreciated.

Short on time or craftiness? Luckily, companies like The Six Box and MilSO Box are ready to send a pre-filled care package to the military spouse in your life.

Students

My timeline has been filled with lots of back to school photos, all the way from pre-school to college, and they got me thinking. When I was away at college, I was pretty homesick for the first few weeks (ok, maybe closer to the first few months) and would have loved to have a little taste of home show up in my mailbox. This just screams care package opportunity!

You could pack: homemade food or baked goods (depending on the distance/travel time), letters from family at home, photos, favorite snacks or drinks and maybe even a few study aides.

Missionaries

Much like military personnel, missionaries can be away from home for extended periods of time. Why wouldn’t they enjoy a few comforts from home?

Similar to military care packages, missionary care packages are best if they include things the recipient loves. Snacks, music or books are great things to send. You could also include practical things like clothing, mini alarm clocks, sewing kits and toiletries.

New parents

Show me a new parent who feels completely in control of everything happening in their life and I will show you B’s new talent: pulling coins out of Roogie’s ears. Bottom line is that new parents would definitely appreciate a care package.

You could certainly include baby necessities (like diapers and wipes), but consider sending things that are more for the parents. Maybe it’s a pre-cooked dinner or a gift card for take out to ease the burden at dinnertime. Extra coffee, a new movie to watch when the baby won’t sleep, pain relievers for the headaches that will come and maybe an adult beverage or two would be very welcome.

New neighbors/homeowners

What better way to meet new people than by showing up with presents? A care package for your new neighbor is a great way to make new friends. A pre-made meal is a nice option, but I’d opt for the ingredients to make a meal, especially if you don’t know their tastes/dietary restrictions. Cleaning supplies, a gift card to your favorite restaurant in town, tips on the best eats and activities and a welcome note are also great additions.

Those in need

Whether they’re sick, injured or just went through a natural disaster, there are so many people who could benefit from a little extra love.  Obviously the key here is to send things the recipient can actually use in the present moment so contents would change based on each situation.  Make sure to think practically when you pack this care package. While very thoughtful, oven-ready meals won’t do someone much good if they don’t have access to an oven.

The beauty of care packages is that they allow you to give no matter how far you may be from someone. There’s a level of connection there that is hard to match when you’re separated.  So many people in your life would benefit from a little extra love and care packages are perfect ways to share that.

In the spirit of sharing a little extra love, I want to add a quick note about helping those affected by Harvey in Texas. I grew up in Houston and many friends still live there so the devastating flooding has really hit close to home for me. The people of Houston are strong and will get through this, but they can’t do it alone. If you are able to give, please consider doing so.  Organizations the American Red Cross are great and reliable ways to give, but I hope you’ll donate wherever you feel a connection. If a monetary donation isn’t possible for you right now, please consider sharing my message with your friends and family.

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