Staying Connected with Loved Ones from Afar

‘Tis the season again. Cars and trucks loaded with mini fridges and TVs are heading off to college. Many of our Moving Boxes children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews are heading off to school; some for the first time, some for the “second” first time due to COVID-19. Or maybe you have a loved one moving elsewhere to pursue a new opportunity or location.

The pandemic has been life-changing for us all, and our loved ones moving to new places will be readjusting to a new normal. This will consist of new living arrangements, friends, school, food – no more of mom’s cooking! There could even be an adjustment to new weather conditions like coming from “Hotlanta” and moving to the “Windy City”. Those newbie undergrads may need a little extra support.

When I was in bootcamp as an 18 year-old fresh out of high school, it was an anxiety-inducing experience. Your child may not have drill instructors in their face for eight hours a day, but moving to another state or living with new people can be just as intimidating.

One thing that really helped my morale while in bootcamp was getting mail and care packages from family. In the era of email, handwritten letters add a personal touch, which most people in their late teens and early twenties are not accustomed to receiving. When I got that envelope from home, it made me feel special knowing someone loved me and was thinking about me.

Stationery and Decorative Box with Twine

Care packages full of snacks and other necessities are also a nice surprise. Even if it is full of items that they could easily get themselves, opening a package from home is always exciting. This can go a long way to give your student a “hug” from one thousand miles away.

Here are some suggestions to get your care package started:

  • Their favorite snack goodies (always a winner!)
  • If they like to write, a journal with colored pens
  • Medicine and first-aid supplies (e.g., vitamins, cough drops, band-aids)
  • Theme packages, such as:
    • Movie night – popcorn kernels, flavored salt, and a credit toward an online rental
    • Spa day – facial mask, nail polish, and a candle
    • Sports themed for an upcoming game – team apparel, sports equipment


There are plenty of ideas online to help spark creativity. Think about your loved one’s interests and hobbies. Try decorating the inside of the box to make it truly unique. There’s no need for it to be fancy or expensive – even the smallest package delivers a lot of joy.

Joy Hutcherson

Joy has worked with the Atlanta Regional Commission since 2016 within Aging & Independence Services. Joy is passionate about serving others and spends leisure time volunteering within the community or just helping a friend in need.