Care packages

IN these very unkind times —  the elections, the pandemic, conflict, and all the things that keep us awake at night —  gestures of love and kindness go a long way. There is now a business selling care packages that can be a way to express those feelings to someone you love or even yourself.

Get Well Supplies has a variety of gift hampers that contain items that may help during an illness. The COVID Complete Care package (P3,200), for one, can see a loved one through a 14-day stretch in isolation. It contains, among other items, an oximeter, a thermometer, alcohol and disinfectants, masks, vitamins and supplements (such as Vitamin C and Zinc, melatonin, Vitamin D3, and fish oil capsules), and even lozenges, mouthwash, and a tub of Vicks Vaporub. Then there is the Get Well Soup package which contains packs of frozen soup (a Sampler Pack, P670, contains tomato, mushroom, and of course, chicken soup). And, poignantly, a box for expressing sympathy to someone grieving: The Compassion Box (P3,000). It includes a box for the keepsakes of someone who has passed, a journal, a calming candle, chamomile tea, and healing crystals (amethyst, moonstone, rhodonite, and rose quartz).

“We are a gifting company that is focused on offering practical items that help people in their journey towards recovery. We do not claim to heal a person’s mental or physical sickness; we put together practical and functional items that are complementary in their recovery process,” said Java Gancayco, co-founder of Get Well Supplies.

Ms. Gancayco started the business after her husband’s own bout with COVID-19, early in the pandemic in 2020.

“Our company is inspired by the kindness of the people around us. When my husband got COVID around July-August of 2020, our friends rushed to our aid and offered to help us in whatever way they can. They were very generous to offer their time and resources to make sure we were okay. We learned firsthand that people are willing to go out their way to look out for people they care about and to make their presence felt in challenging times,” she said in an e-mail to BusinessWorld.

She recalls that at that time there was very little information on what to do or what to have handy when someone was infected with COVID-19. “Information on what products to have and what actions to do next were not that organized at that time, which leaves people confused and feeling more helpless,” she said.

“Our friends, upon learning that our household is affected by COVID, had to do their own research as to what items are necessary for COVID patients. In the process, they had to physically go to different stores to buy everything on their list/s. We were so touched by their efforts and thoughtfulness, but at the same time, we felt bad that they had a challenging time putting everything together. We felt that there should be an easier, better way to show kindness and support, and that’s when we’ve decided to put up GWS.”

The Get Well Supplies website contains a disclaimer: “The vitamins and supplements inside each GWS Care Package are not medicinal drugs and should not be used to treat symptoms of any disease. Please consult your physician for possible treatment options.” Ms. Gancayco, explains, however, that “The contents in our care packages are backed by research and recommended by medical professionals. For example, we have consulted with a doctor and medical professionals in putting together the contents for our COVID care packages. In the process of putting together a care package, we made sure that the contents are safe and complementary in the journey towards recovery. We will continue to do the same for our upcoming packages for different illnesses.”

She reminds customers though: “The statement about the vitamins and supplements in our COVID care packages is there to remind people that these vitamins and supplements are NOT medicinal drugs — patients will still need to take their doctor-prescribed medicines. We understand that patients would have varying symptoms and different medical histories, so it is still necessary to consult with their respective healthcare providers to get the most suitable treatment plan.”

RESTORATIVE SOUPThe word “restaurant” apparently came from eateries that served a restoring broth, thus enshrining the age-old belief that soup can help during an illness. Whether or not this is true (though your mother and grandmother will still push a bowl towards you), Ms. Gancayco says, “Soups, when prepared with healthy ingredients, can have nutritional benefits. Our soups are made with all-natural ingredients without the bad stuff —  such as condiments, preservatives, and thickeners. In addition, our signature soup variants are carefully chosen to have the ingredients that aid recovery.”

Their soups are prepared by a commissary that specializes in healthy foods. “We do, however, give them directives on the production, like what ingredients to have and avoid and which variants to include,” she said. She cites that the tomatoes are rich in antioxidants, that chicken soup has anti-inflammatory properties and contains amino acids, while mushrooms “help modulate the immune system.”

She further cites an article from Psychology Today ( that discusses how soup helps the mind during illness, bringing comfort through the idea of care, (literal) warmth, and boosting one’s appetite.

One day, the pandemic will end, and we hope that that day comes sooner rather than later. With a business model founded around the pandemic, how will this company carry over into a post-pandemic future? “As you’ve pointed out, people naturally will still experience sickness even if it’s not COVID,” said Ms. Gancayco. “In addition, setbacks and trials are inevitable. We aim to be the go-to brand that can provide the necessary items and offer the in-demand service that will help people and/or their loved ones make challenging times a bit easier and more convenient,” she said.

“While our company started with COVID care packages, we will soon be offering other product offerings and services,” she added, saying that the company plans to offer more lines on their first anniversary this April.

“We’re grateful to have kind and generous (not to mention, loyal) customers who continuously use our service and buy our products. While we’ve had customers share how our products have helped their loved ones get through COVID, most of the heartwarming messages that we get are more about the convenience and practicality of our service.”

Visit for details and orders. —  Joseph L. Garcia