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Showing They Care

Care packages, keeping cool and filling your gift basket.

When hard at work hitting the textbooks and pounding the campus pavement, what is it most college students crave? A little pampering from home, no doubt.

James Kim and Ed Han remembered this from their years together as undergraduates at the University of Chicago. So after the pair graduated with degrees in public policy studies and economics, respectively, they started Chicago-based KarePak & Co., a themed care-package business, last September.

KarePak offers 12 unique care packages that cover a range of product themes--from gourmet foods and cleaning supplies to calling cards and healthy snacks.

For worried parents dealing with "separation anxiety," Kare-Pak offers the "Did you brush your teeth?" package, which provides grateful students with such hygiene essentials as mouthwash, dental floss, toothpaste and a toothbrush, and senders with the peace of mind that there's a better chance these items are being put to regular use.

"Nowadays, especially with a lot of mothers who work more than they did just a generation ago, I think there are a lot of parents out there who want to send a care package to their student but just don't have the time," says Kim. "This is a way for them to communicate they care without investing a lot of time."

To ensure that manners are being minded in the busy mix of social club meetings, football games and midterm exams, a stamped thank-you card is enclosed with each package so the recipient can easily thank the sender. Prices for the care packages range from $19.95 to $24.95, and the company has seen sales grow 50 percent to 60 percent since it started taking orders nationwide last fall from busy--but caring--parents, grandparents and other relatives.

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