PROVO Got a student who could use a little encouragement, perhaps a pick-me-up with sugar, balloons or maybe some fruit?
Brigham Young University's dining services department offers nine Cougar Care Packages ranging from an "I Love You" package filled with sparkling apple cider, candy kisses and balloons to a special occasion cake complete with a decorated cake, four balloons, 12 forks, plates and napkins and a plastic knife.
The cake seems to be the most popular choice, particularly among parents who want to treat their student.
"Students can share it with their roommates," said assistant manager Shoshawna Kent.
The cake can be decorated to observe any special occasion, including birthdays.
Other choices include: "BYU Brownies," "Chocolate Attack," "Get Well Soon," "Gift Bag," "Gourmet Cookies," "Health Nut" and "Movie Night," which includes a soft-drink six-pack, mints, two bags of microwave popcorn and a $5 BYU bookstore gift card for a video rental.
Surprisingly, the movie package isn't too popular, said manager Mitch Smith, possibly because it's fairly new.
Still, most customers who buy the care packages are parents.
More rare are young men who use them to invite a girl out on a date or girls who get them as a thank you to a roommate.
"Ninety-nine percent of the time it's a parent or relative who orders," Kent said.
The most popular time to get a Cougar Care Package is during freshman orientation at the beginning of the school year or on Valentine's Day. They also provice a boost during finals.
Dining services delivers to the front desks at Heritage or Helaman halls and even to the Y-View campus apartments. Off-campus students are notified to pick up their care packages.
The morale boosters have developed over the years, Kent said, and have been available since before she came to work for dining services in 1999. The packages were reworked by former manager Emily Dent.
"She redesigned them, and sales went up," Kent said.
Most advertising is word-of-mouth.
"They find us," she said.Offering them on the Internet also boosted sales. The Web site is dining.byu.edu/carepackages