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Send your homesick college student a taste of home




He was in such a rush to move on-campus, he didn’t even close the door behind him on his way out. Now he’s enjoying the frat parties and rock concerts and, yes, maybe even learning a thing or two.

But even a dean’s list scholar may occasionally miss Mom’s home cooking. So if you decide to send your homesick student a little “taste of home,” here are some suggestions to help it get there safe and sound.

• Pack your treats with care

Almost nothing says “I love you” quite like Mom’s homemade desserts. Of course, you never know what (or when!) your favorite student last ate, so stuff from the store is pretty good, too. To keep your treats in good shape, make sure you select a container that is strong enough to protect your contents during handling. For cookies, candies and such, cushion the contents to make sure they don’t get broken moving around. Place the delivery address inside the box, just in case. Clearly label the outside of the package, and write on only one side of the box. Use strong filament or reinforced tape for closing and securing the box flaps and seams. Do not use wrapping paper or string, as they may get caught in mail processing equipment and damage the package.

Double-check the mailing address with your scholar (or better yet, check with the school by phone or the Internet). Make sure to use the dorm name, suite number, box number and/or other specific coding and delivery information. Some universities have tens of thousands of students. Make sure your gift gets where it should go.

For more tips on successful packaging, or to get packaging materials, including tape, envelopes, padded bags, boxes, mailing tubes and cushioning material, go to your local post office, or go online to www.usps.com and search for “Shipping Supplies.”

• Cash is king but money orders are safe

Do not send cash through the mail. Postal money orders are the safe way to send money. Domestic and international money orders are available at any post office or from any rural route carrier in amounts up to $1,000, and can be cashed at banks or at 37,000 Postal Service outlets nationwide. There is no expiration date, and if they are lost or stolen, simply present your receipt to apply for a replacement.

If the financial need is pressing, Priority Mail service will deliver in two to three days at a price that won’t break the bank. And for emergencies, Express Mail offers guaranteed next-day delivery by noon to most destinations. Your local post office has Express Mail envelopes, packages and other materials at no charge.

• Remove all doubt

If you want to make sure your shipment gets to your favorite student, you have several mailing options. You can use Certified Mail and get a mailing receipt that also offers delivery information over the Internet. For a small additional fee, you can purchase a return receipt to provide you with the recipient’s signature.

You can get Delivery Confirmation service for parcels sent by Priority Mail, First-Class Mail and Package Services. With Delivery Confirmation, you can verify the date, time and ZIP Code of your delivery, or when delivery was attempted, and whether your package was forwarded or returned. With Signature Confirmation service, you will know exactly who signed for it, along with the date and time of delivery. You can have a copy of the signed delivery record faxed, e-mailed, or mailed to you. And for even greater convenience and lower costs, you can choose an electronic option that puts enhanced delivery information at your fingertips.

• Help your student say “thank you”

Your college student may actually want to thank you for your “taste of home,” so help him or her do it right. Use a complete return address on your cards, letters and packages. Include your address suffix (RD, ST, AVE), directional code (N, E, SW) where appropriate, and ZIP Code. And consider enclosing a book of stamps or some prepaid, self-addressed cards or envelopes. College life can be hectic. Make writing home quick, easy, convenient.

For ZIP Code information and additional mailing tips, just go to www.usps.com or visit your local post office.


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