Tempe company sends comfort to homesick students

A TASTE OF HOME: Tim and Joan O’Connor’s Honey Moon Sweets Bakery provides comfort for out-of-state students. The bakery, located near Southern Avenue and Roosevelt Street in Tempe, sends care packages to students who are far from home. (Photo by Andy Jeffreys)

A Tempe catering company may have found the cure to student homesickness.

Honey Moon Sweets, located near Roosevelt Street and Southern Avenue, has created care packages for parents to send their hungry college children throughout the semester.

This year, the company has started making packages filled with cookies, cupcakes and brownies that come with little messages such as, “You can still do your laundry here because I love you” and “Have you called home lately?”

“It’s easy and something nice parents can do for their kids,” said Tim O’Connor, who co-owns the company along with his wife Joan. “[The care packages] help alleviate separation anxiety, especially for first-time college students.”

A package full of traditional pastries such as oatmeal raisin and chocolate chip cookies is available as well as more unique creations such as “Sun Devil’s Food Cake” and “Gatorade Vitamin C Blast Cupcakes.”

Joan O’Connor, Honey Moon’s pastry chef, said other care packages she has seen seemed generic. She thought about making her baked goods “fun and splashy” with her personal touch.

She uses natural ingredients to get the best possible flavors.

“We don’t use hydrogenated fats, artificial colorants, or nuts,” Joan O’Connor said.  “It’s what I would want my daughter to eat.”

O’Connor said they have received a couple dozen orders already, and while they have only been Tempe orders, they will deliver to all four of ASU’s campuses.

The O’Connors got the idea for delivery packages after noticing that parents would order birthday cakes to be delivered directly to the students.

They also have a daughter currently studying at UA, so they said they can sympathize with parents wanting to send something to their college children. Their delivery trucks, however, do not go to UA.

Four different care packages are for sale and can be purchased individually for $24, or together for $85 and delivery fees are included.

The “Moving Day” package includes 17 cookies and would be sent on Aug. 23, the “Have you called home lately?” bars and brownie package on Nov. 4, a “Mid Terms” package with six filled cupcakes on Oct. 1 and a “Final Exam” package with half a dozen filled cupcakes is sent out Dec. 9.

The care packages may seem like something solely for out-of-state parents, but that is not always the only case, said O’Connor.

Phoenix resident Mischa Kerr, mother of education sophomore Mischaleigh Kerr, saw Honey Moon on a local talk show and decided right then to purchase a package for her daughter.

“[My daughter] is living off campus this year with three girls and I bought her the ‘moving day’ package to tell her I was thinking about her,” Kerr said. “It seemed pretty inexpensive and [move-in week] is a hard week so I thought it would be a good time.”

Allison Perlis, a design junior from Phoenix, said her mother would mail her homemade goods during her freshman year, though they weren’t from Honey Moon Sweets.

“My mom would send me Ziploc bags full of cookies in the mail,” Perlis said. “It was my first time away from home, so it was really nice.”

Perlis’ mom sent her cookies and raw cookie dough so she could bake them herself at Hassayampa.

“She really enjoys baking, and since she didn’t get to see me as much, it was fun for her to send me treats,” Perlis said, though she doesn’t receive them any more.

She said it does not matter if packages are handmade or bought.

“I think it’s the thought that counts,” Perlis said.

The O’Connors have been running Honey Moon for 15 years. They met at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. and worked in hotels and restaurants in New York before coming to Tempe.

Reach the reporter at apanguia@asu.edu