By Josh, Syracuse University
When I sit and think on it, I still well up with emotion as I remember every care package I received from Orphan Foundation of America (OFA). Each package included a combination of items that somehow met all my needs as a college student.
The first thing I would usually notice was a card, which always had kind words and well wishes of emotional support and encouragement from the wonderful members of OFA.
Next I remember the goodies, like cookies, figs, and gummies. This was my favorite part at the time, because physical nourishment is such a basic need. When we give food or receive it from someone it shows we care and it shows commitment to the future. The care package was a way for OFA to say “We are invested in YOU, not just your grades and scholastic achievement; we care about YOU”.
Then there was always something practical; things, at the time, I didn’t realize I would use to this day. I got a shower bag, and a backpack I use for my bike. It was such a treasure! It was exciting to open the boxes and fantasize about how I would be using these items in the future.
Finally, I remember my red scarves; the second one I received has been most significant to me. There was a card attached with the name and a note from a girl in Illinois. She was in 7th grade and had handmade the scarf. I realized this girl had no idea who I was but she wanted to help me. For the first time, I let myself feel the comfort of being cared for and recognized that I don’t have to carry the load of my past alone. I felt both the pain of my past and the warm comfort of those seemingly strangers at OFA. Though they were strangers, we were connected with the idea of helping others who maybe don’t realize how much they need it.
Getting care packages gave me a feeling of being cared for and supported without the need for any return—something I lacked a lot growing up. To receive this important emotional support and validation was so significant during college that I couldn’t picture my experience without it.