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.

5 thoughts on “Why shouldn’t I send packages to my sponsored friend?”

  1. I am on this site because I thought I would send some writing utensils, toothpaste and toiletries to my 90 year old friend in India. I packaged it up in a 14x14x7 box with a total weight of 10 pounds. To ship this anywhere in the US might be about $12.00 UPS Ground but is about $160.00 to India! Wow! I think I know some lucky kids at work who are in for some supplies!

    1. Dear Greg,
      We receive regular reports of the high cost of packages when being sent to the projects. This is one of the reasons that we ask sponsors not to send packages, but target an extra donation to their sponsored friend or another need instead. This way, we can guarantee that your contribution will be used for a good cause, rather than for shipping!
      Sponsor Services

  2. This was very enlightening! I had no idea the costs were so high on the “other end”. Could I have more information about the 9 x 12 x 1 inch envelope? Is this something we can get at the USPS?

    Thank you! Meredith F.

  3. This has been a learning process for our family. I should say that we DO send a package, but we are careful to stay within the rules. When my daughter met our sponsored child in July, there was conversation about the child wanting a doll. We weren’t really “up” enough on the rules and said we would try. I am sure her social workers have explained that we can’t send one (although we did send a teeny tiny one that fit in the 9 x 12 1″ envelope!), but I still appreciate CFCA’s efforts to educate us sponsors about the best ways to share our affection with our sponsored friends, and the characteristics of postal services in other countries that may complicate things a lot. The special funds are always good and always of benefit to the families.

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