When Linda Miller and her friend Joan Peter of Charlotte got tired of buying gift baskets for people that were full of "filler junk," they decided to make their own.
"Then, we started thinking other people would want packages with quality stuff in it and stuff they would actually use," Miller said.
Their hobby turned into a business, and seven years ago they founded CarePkg, making welcome baskets for Realtors. Their imaginations soon flew, and they created packages for everyone from pet owners to people turning 21.
But they needed a niche, Miller said.
They had always thought about doing packages that parents can send to their kids who are at camp, and in the summer of 2009 they launched a line of camp care packages.
They approached Camp Thunderbird in Lake Wylie, and their idea was well-received, Miller said.
"They were willing to give us a chance," she said. "They loved that we were local and were moms and had kids who would be camp age. They liked that it wasn't junk."
Now, CarePkg focuses on camp packages, and Miller and Peter create a new set of packages each summer. They are working on the 2011 line now and plan to begin taking orders in late March or early April.
"We want usable items, not stuff that people are going to toss, that they will pull out, actually use it and it will have value for them," Miller said.
In 2010, for example, items in the "Cabin Fever" package included a flashlight, disposable camera, yo-yo, Whoopee cushion and Blisters hiking game.
The company is committed to being eco-friendly, so all camp packages are in drawstring backpacks.
"There is not a big box or a lot of plastic wrap or waste associated with it," Miller said.
Parents e-mail Miller a letter to their children, and Miller prints it out on stationary and includes it in the package.
"We really try to personalize it," Miller said. "The response has been great."
CarePkg has delivered about 120 packages each summer since 2009, and Miller and Peter are continuing to work with camps to promote the packages. They also donate money back to camp scholarships funds.
They will send care packages anywhere, Miller said.
For more information and to order camp care packages, visit mycarepkg.com.