Sep 24 2012

Sending a package to your sponsored friend? Read this before you do!

In a North American tradition of the Christmas season, many gifts are sent through the mail.

Although sending a package to your sponsored friend by commercial delivery services may sound like a good idea, we recommend mailing your item following CFCAís guidelines.

In many of the countries where we work, mail from sponsors is sent to a post-office (P.O.) box address, and many commercial delivery services need a physical address to deliver packages.

Purity

Purity, CFCA sponsored child in Kenya, holds a letter from her sponsor.

If you want to send a gift to your friend through the mail, please observe the guidelines we have in place: Packages must be no larger than 9 x 12 inches, weigh less than a pound and be less than an inch thick.

We strongly discourage the shipment of larger packages as they result in high customs fees for the local CFCA project and run the risk of theft.

For a real-life example, click here to read about what happened when one sponsor mailed a large tackle box to their sponsored friend.

If your item fits our guidelines, great! Just make sure to follow this next step to help CFCA staffers as they deliver letters and gifts to sponsored children, youth and aging friends.

Whenever you send an item it is best to place it inside of a Ziploc bag and attach a label to the bag. The label should include your sponsored friend’s ID number and your CFCA ID number. You can use the same label on the bag that you would normally use to write a letter to your child.

Many times, sponsors will send a package or items with no identification. These items never get to the sponsored friends without a label, as the project staff does not know who should receive it.

Still have questions about sending items in the mail? Email us at mail@cfcausa.org or call Sponsor Services Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central time. You can also feel free to leave a comment!

A simpler way

The best way to give something to your sponsored friend this Christmas season is to donate to the CFCA Christmas Fund. Through the Christmas fund, all sponsored children, youth and aging friends receive a gift and know the gifts they receive are from their sponsors.

Your donation provides gifts for sponsored friends that are culturally appropriate for your friendís community and purchased locally, helping to stimulate the area economy.

In addition, the most personally meaningful gift a sponsored friend may receive could be far simpler and less expensive than an international parcel shipment.

A sponsor’s heartfelt letter sharing about family and holiday traditions, or a family photograph are deeply meaningful ways to connect across cultures.

As CFCA staffers visit sponsored individuals and their families around the world, they are often greeted with these cherished items as prized family possessions.

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Dec 5 2011

Why shouldn’t I send packages to my sponsored friend?

As Christmas approaches, many sponsors want to know why we discourage them from sending packages larger than 9- by 12-inches and more than an inch thick.

Gift packages to sponsored children and aging friends

A gift package to a CFCA sponsored friend in El Salvador. The estimated value of the items was $10, but it would have cost $75 for staff members to claim the package.

Here’s a real-life example why:

Santa Ana, El Salvador

The import office in Santa Ana recently notified Henry Flores, director of our communications center in El Salvador, that a package had arrived addressed to CFCA.

Normally the CFCA staff does not retrieve packages from the import office because the fees are too costly.

But Henry went this time because he was anticipating some camera equipment sent by our staff in our Kansas City headquarters.

When the package was opened, Henry was surprised to see it contained a fishing tackle box and fishing supplies.

The importing office gave Henry a receipt and told him it would cost CFCA-Santa Ana $75 in fees to claim the package, $50 for the importing office and $25 estimated taxes.

(Taxes are based on the total of the value of the contents, plus the U.S. postage amount and the customs cost stamped on the package. The sponsors also sent a fishing pole, but for some mysterious reason, it arrived at the projectís post office box and bypassed customs.)

The receipt shows the estimated value of the items at $10. The senders paid $40 in U.S. postage.

Add the cost of claiming the package, and you end up with $125 for $10 worth of fishing gear that will never reach the sponsored child.

Henry left the package at the customs office. It will eventually be auctioned off by customs along with other unclaimed items.

If you’d like to make Christmas special for your sponsored friend, you can always write a personalized eLetter or donate to our Christmas fund.

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