How to Throw a College Care Package Party With Friends

College kids love the care packages that their parents mail from home. But what happens when they rip open a box to discover that the goodies have been sent from someone else’s mom? Forty kids, all graduates from Ridgewood High School in Ridgewood, New Jersey, were treated to a surprise when their moms gathered together for a college care package party.

Their mothers picked names out of a hat, assembled a box of treats, and tucked in a personal note of encouragement to a freshman who was not their own kid.

Angele Kassar Ekert, a mother of two college kids and a recent empty nester, was the mastermind and she invited, in her words an “eclectic” group of mothers from among the class of 450.

Her invitation read “My Kid Left for College and I Need a Drink” and she asked the invitees to bring 40 “somethings” — inexpensive gifts or snacks that a college kid would appreciate — along with their own teen’s mailing address.

college care package party
These care package party attendees all had college freshmen and attended a care package party last year to put boxes together for them.

How to throw a college care package party

Some invitees were close friends but many were mingling with moms whom they had never met. (Ridgewood High School enrollment is 1800.) Her plan was to include people who she thought would enjoy getting together to toast the kids, prepare a box of goodies, have a glass of wine, and enjoy a few laughs.

The college care package party invitees placed the treats on Ekert’s dining room table and gathered what they wanted for the kid whose name they chose. She had purchased note cards with a star motif for each person to write a few words on. Before they left, Ekert took a picture of the group and made copies so everyone could include the photo, too, in each box.

And the reaction? She said

“The moms loved it and were so happy that they were meeting new people, even though their kid had graduated and moved away.” All week she’s been getting texts and emails from people telling her how much they enjoyed it. “Everyone embraced it and thought it was a ball.”

One college girl texted her mom, “My week is made. I was already having a good day but now it’s even better.” She included a picture of all the varied gifts she’d received, the note and photograph, all spilled out on her dorm room bed.

Care package party: snack and gift ideas

Frisbees, Advil, coffee cups w/Keurig cup, cup o noodles, spoon/fork/knife combo, earbuds, deck of cards, Emergen-C, granola bars, candy, cookies, chips, hot chocolate, Nutella, and Rice Krispie Treats.

For more college care package ideas:

College Care Packages from Home: 50 Great Ideas

All leftover snacks were donated to the local food pantry.

How to host a college care package party

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Best Places to Order a College Care Package We asked our group of Grown and Flown parents where they liked ordering care packages from and here are their suggestions.

About Grown and Flown

Mary Dell Harrington and Lisa (Endlich) Heffernan are the co-founders of Grown and Flown the #1 site for parents of teens, college students and young adults, reaching millions of parents every month. They are writers (Lisa is a New York Times bestselling author), moms, wives and friends. They started the Grown and Flown Parents Facebook Group and are co-authors of Grown and Flown: How to Support Your Teen, Stay Close as a Family, and Raise Independent Adults (Flatiron Books) now in paperback.

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